Ljubljana, Slovenia! An amazing 4th Emmanuel European Youth Meeting

From December 28, 2018 to January 1, 2019, more than 250 young adults from every continent, gathered together in Ljubljana, Slovenia, to celebrate the New Year as one family. 

What a special way to celebrate New Year’s Eve:  amidst the firecrackers they hear from outside, a group of young adults in adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament a powerful praise followed  to thank the Lord for who He is – Emmanuel, God with us.  Know more through these testimonies:

Agata and Gasper you’re the youth coordinators of the Slovenian youth

What made you accept the EEYM?

The EEYM seemed like a great event and our youth was very enthusiastic about it. It was already exciting already from the begining when it was just an idea. Secondly, we have big momentum among Slovenian Emmanuel Youth right now, with more people than ever around. This is perfect time.

Why Dragon slayers?

Ljubljana’s Patron Saint is St. George. That’s why the symbol of Ljubljana is a dragon. At some point, we just saw the great connection of the slogan – “Here I am”, with the story of St. George and his fight with the dragon – how he said to God – “here I am”, and slayed that dragon, despite every man in the village feared it. A dragon is a symbol of evil, sin that troubles us in our way to holiness. Everyone of us is called to slay our dragons, to become dragon slayers. #dragonslayer

What fruits have you seen being youth coordinators?

Fruits of the EEYM event have been planted already on the journey towards event, though there were seen just after. What many in the team have emphasized is that we are not just brothers and sisters anymore, but we have become also friends. When you have big challenges in front, you step together, you sweat together and this is what builds relationships. There are many more seeds that God have planted during the event, but they will be seen in years to come and we are excited and happy that we could be part of this.

2 Slovenian youths with the Archbishop with the EEYM participants

Ermelin, you come from afar, can you tell us who you are and what you experienced during these past 5 days?

 I’m Ermelin from Congo-Kinshasa. As part of my year at ESM Rome, I had the great joy of participating in the EEYM 2018 in Slovenia. During 5 days of fraternal time, teachings, spiritual time and missions, I discovered a great joy of what is being  part of a bigger family of more than 200 young people coming from more than 20 countries all over the world. It has given me hope and a desire to always seek God. Also, to above all, to reach out to Him and always be very attentive to what He tells us because He always speaks to us. At the end of the EEYM I decided to always listen to the voice of the Lord and let me be guided by Him because He is the only one who knows what is better for me.

Gabrielle, tell us more about yourself and how did you get here?

Bonjour, I’m Gabrielle from France, this year I’m at ESM Altötting.  During the EEYM I was really touch by the people. They were there for the Lord, they wanted to know him more, they were ready to participate and eager to discover new things. For example, we did a street evangelization. There were a lot of people who never did one, but despite everything they did it with a great joy. I was also touched on how people there were attentive and an experience of how the Lord takes care of me and how He can act through others. I broke my foot at the beginning of the street mission and there were someone with a strip, someone else with free crutches and someone with the good cream. And that was amazing to receive all of this so nicely and freely. Thanks be to God!

Can you tell us your experience being a consecrated sister and in the St Joseph year (discernement year for priesthood in the Emmanuel Community)

Young people have big desires and big dreams. Events like EEYM show them that they are not alone in striving for great things, for holiness. It is also a favourable context to reflect and pray about how to live this call out, to know more about the different vocations. They can meet people who have already answered to the call like young couples, priests and consecrated women and men. It was a great occasion to experience their happiness and readiness to take the means to start or get further in their discernment. To see their enthousiasm is a huge sign of hope for the Church and the world. To spend time together, especially during meals or free time gave me the oppurtunity to be available to share about my joy of being consecrated to God.

It was my first EEYM and I really enjoyed to meet other young Catholics from different countries in Europe with whom it was possible to share about our faith and our background. The different talk we received during these 4 days were also very good. They helped me to make concrete steps regarding my relationship with God and the discernment for my vocation. Finally, the EEYM was a good way to end 2018 and to begin 2019 with the Lord and with other young people who also share the desire to move closer to God !

Fr Wojciech, as the European Youth coordinator, what would you like to add?

The EEYM in Ljubljana was my second meeting after the 1st edition in Brussels in 2014. Then there was Vienna in 2016 and Budapest, last year. 

This time, I took part in the preparation time and I saw a beautiful commitment of young people who organized the meeting. Their team work was really good and what impressed me most in Ljubljana, was the community spirit not only among the youth but also, and maybe first of all, in the Slovenian team. Every day they listened very carefully to the youth leaders of different countries trying to get to know the needs of the participants and trying to find the details that could be improved day by day. The youth felt very welcomed, comfortable and listened to. If I find this organization so important it is not to forget about the most important aim of the meeting: to meet Christ. However, it was this fraternal atmosphere that made the spiritual dimension of the meeting very authentic and fruitful. The talks and workshops that were proposed to the youth could really help in listening to the Lord’s calling. In Ljubljana, there was a quite good  balance between the serious spiritual proposals and party/fraternal time – that what should charaterize the EEYM. 

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