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Twenty-five years of Friendship Groups and Christian Life Groups

07/06/2007: Spain

In 1982, in the former Province of Bética, a new reflection on school ministry started. In a society of temporary products with fast approaching use by dates, it was necessary to help the discovery of “treasures” that have value for all of life and not only for one day (First Communion, Confirmation…).

During that year the Friendship Groups were established and the children who had just made their First Communion and who wanted to follow a process of maturation in faith came to join them. Since then, some animators have accompanied them and with them they have been discovering friendship, sharing with others, the desire for something that animates them and makes them happy, playing and enjoying themselves together. They stay in these groups until they are fifteen years of age.

At this age a new stage commences, that of Christian Life Groups. Some catechists help them to deepen their life, their feelings and their most intimate motivations. At the same time, they present to them the evangelical message as a response to their questions and concerns.

Throughout the course, each of the groups holds a weekly meeting in which they dialogue, share, deepen the Christian message and also pray. During Holy Week, sessions of three days in length are organised for the boys and girls aged fourteen, fifteen and sixteen years as well as the “Young People’s Easter” for those who are seventeen years of age. In summer there are camps for the younger children who are already twelve years of age and gatherings and solidarity work camps for the young people who have already turned sixteen.

This process finishes when the young person makes a clear and concrete vocational choice, living his or her life with some Christian values and feeling called to evangelise as a layperson, religious, priest, missionary…

To celebrate the accomplishments of these Friendship Groups during these last twenty-five years, different commemorative ceremonies have been programmed in the Province of Mediterránea. For the 12th and 19th May two meetings with young people have been planned, one at Jaén and another at Sanlúcar la Mayor (Seville), in which more than a thousand people will participate.

In the same way, at the local level, some festival activities are being held: photographic displays of activities that have already been finished, a design competition, as well as the production of T-shorts, pins, key chains, etc., all with a commemorative intention.

On the 29th September, a meeting of animators and catechists will take place at Córdoba, which will serve as the closing ceremony of this event. The Brother Provincial and all the brothers, animators and catechists who have collaborated throughout these twenty-five years have been invited so that the Friendship Groups and Christian Life Groups may continue as something that has enthused so many children and young people.

Currently some 180 animators and 120 catechists look after more than 2,400 boys and girls in Friendship Groups and Christian Life Groups.

Brother José Delgado Garcia

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