Today, over 3000 people in more than twenty countries around the world belong to the Shalom Catholic Community, which was founded in Brazil in 1982. Its members include married couples, young people and adults seeking their vocation and priests, gathered together in a community of shared life. A particular feature of their charism is the evangelization of young people and the outreach to socially marginalised groups. Their communal life is centred around the daily Sacrifice of Holy Mass, personal prayer, contemplation, Scripture and a radical commitment to Christ.
A wonderful aspect of the community is the high number of priestly vocations it is producing. In the city of Fortaleza in northeast Brazil, where it was originally founded, there are 54 young men from the community currently training for the priesthood.
Father Vitor Bomfin Santos is one of these men who has already been through his training. He was ordained to the priesthood in December 2019 – not long before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Yet this difficult time, which has seen „so much suffering and so many challenges“ has at the same time been for him „a time in which God is giving so many graces“. In fact it has been during this time that he has discovered his particular vocation, which consists in devoting himself to the service of the poor and homeless. He explains, „I have always had a great love for the poor, and to be able to serve them directly now as a priest is a great joy for me. For me to be able to meet them in the squares, listen to their stories, be able to hear the confessions of people who have not made a confession for years, and even to baptise a child of two homeless parents, has been a grace and I thank God for revealing this to me as the particular mission within my priesthood during this time.“ Each one of these poor people is for him not simply a „case“ but an experience enabling him at every moment to hear the call of God.
The 54 seminarians in Fortaleza are likewise preparing for ordination to the priesthood one day and for the opportunity to serve God and their fellow men in a still deeper and more intensive way. Rai Rannier is 25. He explains, „I was looking for a life of total conversion to God and his Church.“ For him the personal encounter with Christ is the most important aspect, and already he and his fellow seminarians are sharing their own personal experiences on this journey with Christ with other young people who are also trying to discern their vocation and discover how to live a life following Christ.
ACN is proposing to help with a contribution of 18,600 Euros towards the formation of these young seminarians in Fortaleza, so that they can continue their path to the priesthood.