Young people from different dioceses and regions of Cuba celebrated at the end of last April the V Ignatian Festival. “Love yourself” was the word that marked the festival and gave its name to the meeting. This time it took place in Havana, where we were welcomed by the Salesian Sisters of Peñalver, with the love and care that characterize them.
Seeing familiar faces of the Camps and other experiences of the Ignatian Youth Pastoral made the opening of the Festival an exciting moment of encounters. Between games and talks it was a while before, gathered in the main hall, the animators welcomed us.
Over the weekend we shared prayer experiences that marked a before and after in the search for our Principle and Foundation. Having the Lord at the center of our reflection, we had the joy of knowing the experience of the Jesuit Pedro Arrupe, who fell in love with God and accepted it as a project of life.
During the first night, between songs and silences, we came face to face with Jesus in the Eucharist. The most striking thing was the climate of worship, hopeful to see so many youth gathered at the feet of the Master, in the same harmony. I felt at ease, at home.
While we were tired, that did not prevent us from sharing in our hostels, after the Vigil, board games and talks, in an atmosphere of Christian brotherhood, even though some of us did not know each other before.
On the morning of the second day, after the prayer of thanksgiving and breakfast, he accompanied us with Father Arrupe, the superior of the Jesuits in Cuba, Fr. David Pantaleón.
Another invaluable experience in the development of personal prayer was that of small groups, in which each of us share our spiritual and intellectual wealth, in order to walk together, to know us, and to confirm that there are others who seek God’s will to make it a reality in their lives. In those moments, attention and respect were decisive for good team sharing.
The festival’s program was well received. Everything was prepared to encourage prayer, discernment and reading of the books that the Youth Ministry gave us, but there was also time to have fun, do sports, dance.
Saturday night was magical: each diocese or region prepared an artistic representation of the realities of their lives and other subjects. In addition, we have the presentation of the group “Cauce”, project of Cáritas Habana.
On Sunday, the eighth of Easter and the last day of the festival, we closed our youthful coexistence with Holy Mass, the culmination of our feast. With joy we share the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist, to seal our desire to be with God and to see each other again at the VI Ignatian Festival. So be it.