After a year as an animator, the young man who lives in San Felipe, department of Yaracuy, is witnessing how people’s interest in caring for the common home is constantly growing. He’s working on the “Genesis Project” with his circle, seeking to create youth groups and Laudato Si’ circles, “an ecological pastoral in parishes where there is none“.
“We want to make people fall in love with the encyclical and the care of the common home”, says Jesús, and proudly tells that there are already five circles and groups that have started recently. He also shares that they have held a “chat forum” with the Franciscan friars to talk about the life of St. Francis of Assisi.
Our state “is the state where nature reigns,” says Jesus, speaking of Yaracuy, Venezuela. “So, if this is so, let’s take care of it,” he says, encouraging the community to join in.
Within the circle’s work, they started a relationship with park rangers, forest firefighters, and tourism people. The activities are divided according to age: “With the youngest children we do recycling and planting activities; with the youth, we collect garbage in the plazas, donate plastic bags of products, and plant new plants; and the adults join in when they want to. For example with the gathering of signatures for the ‘Healthy planet, healthy people’ petition“.
Pope Francis tells us: “Let’s choose to change”, and for Jesus, it is a change that is made very little by little: “I always told the kids: ‘According to your possibilities, this is not an obligation, but if you can contribute a little grain, it is enough’. Sometimes when we want to change, we think it has to be drastic and immediate. But no, change does not happen overnight, it is impossible.”
The young man states that in order to change, the secret is “to understand that changing ourselves is progressive, but the most important thing is to start with what you can. Even if it is difficult, the important thing is to continue, to generate motivation.”
For the Season of Creation, the members of the circle have had many initiatives such as the blessing of pets on St. Francis Day, pruning, and planting programs. “But the essence that the Season of Creation seeks is our union,” the young man points out, “and to know that even though we have certain differences, in the end, there is a greater thing that unites us, and there is the heart of Christ.”
As a final message for young people, he says: “I always tell God: I want original young people! I cannot love God as St. Francis of Assisi or Mother Teresa of Calcutta did, but I want to love him as I do, with my originality. I say this to young people: be original”.