EUROPE/ROMANIA - Participants in the Conference of Childhood Missionaries in Europe meet and thank Roma ethnic missionary children

Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Copilăria Misionară Pontificală

Bucharest (Agenzia Fides) - From 25 European countries, forty-three delegates participated in the Conference of Missionary Childhood of Europe (CEME), which began on 7 April in Bucharest and ended on April 13th, with a final stop in Blaj, Romania.
Hosted by the Monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Fathers of Snagov, near Bucharest, the meeting allowed participants to share their experiences, to delve deeper into the theme of the meeting, centered on missionary cooperation, and to learn directly about the the activities of Missionary Childhood in Romania. Sister Roberta Tremarelli, general secretary of the Society of the Holy Childhood in Rome, also participated in the event. "It was a very interesting and rich experience, from which everyone had something to learn. For example, we saw that in certain countries, we talk about missionary childhood at school, children learn about the Pontifical Mission Societies from religious education textbooks, and these are very interesting initiatives that we would like to propose and implement in Romania as well", said Father Eugen Blaj, director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Romania.

The participants in the meeting also received a visit from the Metropolitan Archbishop of Bucharest, Msgr. Aurel Percă, who celebrated a mass on Tuesday, 9 April, in the monastery church. The bishop thanked all participants for their commitment and encouraged them in their mission. The mass was led by a group of Romanian missionary children, who came from different parishes in Bucharest. Some of them, as Sister Roberta recalled, have been part of Missionary Childhood since the beginning of this pontifical Society in Romania. On the same evening, after dinner, the little missionaries presented a short program of songs and spoke with Sister Roberta and the other participants. The next day, the Romanian Jesuit Marius Taloș presented an intense reflection on cooperation, which also concluded the first part of the CEME meeting.
In the second part (from Wednesday afternoon to Saturday), participants had the opportunity to see some of the realities of the local Church and to visit several important cultural and ecclesial places in the country, as well as the Apostolic Nunciature in Bucharest, where they were welcomed by Msgr. Tuomo T. Vimpari, nunciature councilor. The delegates also visited the Romanian capital's three cathedrals: the Orthodox Cathedral, the Latin Rite Catholic Cathedral and the Greek Catholic Cathedral, which is also the smallest cathedral in the world.

In the following days, participants in the Missionary Childhood Conference in Europe visited the city of Sinaia and the Marian shrine of Sumuleu-Ciuc, where Pope Francis celebrated mass during his visit to Romania in 2019; The itinerary continued with a visit to the State University of Alba Iulia (where they were welcomed by the rector) and to the Greek-Catholic community of Barbu Lăutaru, a small neighborhood in the city of Blaj, in the central area of Romania, where they met a group of missionary children of the Roma ethnic group.
On the last day of their stay on Romanian soil, the participants in the meeting attended mass in the Greek-Catholic Cathedral of Blaj, celebrated in the Byzantine rite by auxiliary bishop Cristian Crișan. The mass was animated by Roma missionary children. Bishop Crișan conveyed to all participants the greetings and blessing of Cardinal Lucian Mureșan, head of the Romanian Greek Catholic Church, and prayed that "your activity as missionaries in the name of the Lord Jesus and as lay people committed to the service of the Church and of God is credible and bears fruit in abundance. On the last day of CEME, participants decided that the next meeting will be held in Slovakia, in 2026. (CG) (Agenzia Fides, 17/4/2024)