OMI-WYD: Fr. Chicho Captivates the Hearts of Young Pilgrims


Originally Published on OMIWORLD.ORG

Click here to see the article en Español

By Iván Ramos Luján y Miriam Alonso Jiménez

During their pilgrimage, the young people felt deeply moved by the closeness of the Oblates. 

Among them, Ivan and Miriam, a young couple and youth from the Oblate parish of Saint Leandro in Madrid, share their experience of having Fr. Chicho with them and their testimony throughout those days.

An experience of faith and community

Iván and Miriam

A large number of Oblates from all over the world accompanied young people to WYD in Lisbon, including the Superior General, Fr. Chicho, and some members of the central government, Fr. Raymond Mwangala OMI, first assistant general, and Fr. Kapena Erastus OMI, general councillor for the Africa-Madagascar region. For us, WYD has been an experience of faith and community.  A truly transformative and heartfelt experience that has aided us in discerning numerous things.

An example of humility, simplicity, and a life of faith

In this reflection, I would like to share with you the example of humility, simplicity, and a life of faith that our Superior General has shown throughout this week. First of all, he decided to be with a group of young Spaniards and participate in all the activities with us, regardless of how intense or tiring these things were. Fr. Chicho chose to be with us, and he gave up the commodities of a hotel, or a guest house in order to be close to his people, just like the Pope asks of his pastors.
A young person usually gives up their seat on public transportation or at a rest area so that older people can sit down. However, Fr. Chicho’s example put this beautiful custom upside down. He was the first to give up his seat so that others, no matter the situation, could have a place to sit.

An example of God’s love and closeness to him

Besides all of this, something that caught our attention was his simplicity and sense of poverty.  While many of us slept on inflatable mats, and some of us even had two inflatable mats in order to soften the ground, Fr. Chicho slept on the ground on a simple mat without protesting or complaining, regardless of how uncomfortable it was.

Chicho’s simple sleeping mat

Chicho’s simple sleeping mat

Speaking of sleep, we would also like to share the example of God’s love and closeness with him.  Even though he was exhausted and regardless of what time he would have to wake up, Fr Chicho was seen faithfully every night and every morning.  You could easily see him praying Lauds or Vespers.   This makes us realize the importance of daily prayer and the need to have God present in our daily lives, even in the smallest things, in the simplest moments, and regardless of the circumstances.

A great example of prayer and the availability of life

For us, Fr. Chicho has been a great example of service, simplicity, and closeness to the Lord. We thank God for his work of evangelization, for his way of living these days with us, and for his willingness to always be with the people.

Thank you, Fr. Chicho, thank you for these days of sharing with us and for all those special moments you shared with each one of us. Father General has been a great example of prayer and availability of life for and on behalf of others, and we thank the Lord for giving us the chance to live this experience of faith with him.