Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany

Czech Republic: pastoral youth animators Over 500 young people have taken part in the National Meeting of Youth Animators that closed past weekend in Trest, near Jihlava, with a Eucharistic celebration officiated by Msgr. Pavel Posád. The prelate expressed the wish that “the joy and the enthusiasm surrounding this event may bear its fruits across all parishes and Catholic communities nationwide. Stepan Schiffer, an animator in the event, acknowledged “the significant issues addressed in this year’s conferences, notably the theme of community leadership”. Most participants, with a mean age of 21, arrived from the diocese of Brno. As usual, the initiative was organized by the Youth Department of the Czech Bishops’ Conference and by the Christian youth groups association. A large number of participants are involved in diocesan animation courses with the purpose of training young people in the field of communication, catechism, time management, the sacraments…with approximately 400 new graduates each year, constituting a significant group of lay people committed in evangelization and pastoral services in the dioceses of Bohemia and Moravia. Slovakia: Catholic Church and Roma community “The Catholic Church’s service in Roma Communities” is the topic of the symposium tabled for August 31 (till Sept.2) in Spisská Kapitula. The Roma and Minorities Commission of the Slovkian Bishops’ Conference under the auspices of its president Msgr. Bernard Bober, Metropolitan archbishop of Kosice promote the initiative. “The symposium, dedicated to all those actively working with the Roma, or those who feel a calling to be engaged in this field, provides priests, congregations, religious and lay Catholics with the opportunity to find inspiration in Spisská Kapitula”, the organizers said. The purpose of the event is to raise awareness on the problems of Roma in Slovakia, that amount to 400 thousand people, and seek viable solutions. The program envisages the presentation of various successful initiatives in the field of Roma pastoral care, cultural events and conferences on relevant issues such as the anthropological foundations of Roma spirituality, the history of the presence of this ethnic group in Europe, education to responsibility. For further information log on: www.romskakonferencia.webnode.sk. Germany: faith explained with a video “Film your faith experience – film what you love, film your hopes”: it is the slogan of the 1’31” competition launched on You Tube. The purpose of the competition, addressed to young directors aged 16-29, is to promote original videos on the theme of faith and existential themes. Registration for participants is provided on the website www.1-31.tv by October 31, videos can be submitted until January 13 2015. “Youtube provides a fascinating platform also to address with cinematographic tools important questions on life”, said Matthias Sellmann, Catholic theologian from the University of Rurh of Bochum, director of the Centre for Applied sciences of the pastoral “Zentrum für angewandte Pastoralforschung” (Zap) that has launched the competition with the support of a private foundation, in partnership with the Federation of Young German Catholics (Bdkj): “Youtube is the second search engine in the world and it is largely appreciated by young people. The portal focuses also on music videos and comedy. We want to motivate young Christians and share their experiences”, said Wolfgang Ehrenlechner, BDKJ Federal president. Awards amount to a total of 9 thousand euro in grants, along with specialization courses for the candidates with the highest numbers of votes.

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