A deep conversation in a great atmosphere was on air in Radio Kossuth with Moysés Azevedo, the founder of the Shalom Catholic Community, and also a guest speaker of the September International Eucharistic Congress.
Jesus’ first word
Shalom! – as the email-exchange began between the reporter and his interviewee. “Why is this Jewish greeting so important for a Catholic community?” – asked Zoltán Pásztor, editorial reporter of Radio Kossuth, from the founder of the Shalom Catholic Community. The story was unfolded by Moysés Azevedo, one of the guest speakers of the Budapest International Eucharistic Congress, to be held in September: “Shalom, was the resurrected Christ’s first word to his disciples. It is a Hebrew word, and means the very perfect peace that Jesus wanted to give as a gift to the human’s heart.” The Brazilian community founder spoke about how humans are seeking for peace, for absolute happiness, meanwhile all these are to be found in Jesus’ open heart.
What is true peace?
True peace means the absolute reconciliation of the human’s heart with God, more precisely to achieve peace both with ourselves and our fellow humans. “Jesus is Lord’s Shalom for the world.” – voiced his views Azevedo.
Life dedicated to God
The interview also covered Moysés Azevedo’s youth, the period when he turned away from both the Church and the Lord. He was born into a traditional Brazilian family. His mother prayed a lot to have a son whom she could consecrate to God. Instead, she had five daughters. Finally, at the age of 45, she became pregnant and Moysés was born. A son, with a mission…
Far away from the church and far away from God
The family’s only son had gone far away from God. He thought the church and religion were like boring museums. Once, however, he was invited to a young community, and there he experienced the in-person meeting with Jesus. “He opened up my eyes, and shed lights that He himself was the absolute happiness, the absolute peace for the human’s heart. The Church is Christ’s family, thus it is also my family. And then the desire was born to share with others the grace I was gifted with.” – explained Azevedo.
He wanted to talk to the Holy Father, but was unable to do so
Moysés Azevedo felt and knew that despite his mother’s greatest wish, his path was not the priestly vocation. He is a physiotherapist by graduation but has never worked in his profession. In 1980, at the National Eucharistic Congress held in Brazil he was amongst the picked young ones having the honour to hand over a gift to Holiness St. John Paul II. The Cardinal entrusted each of them to choose their own surprise. Moysés was praying to God for a gift worthy to the Holy Father, and the answer arrived: he decided to offer his entire life for the evangelization of the youth. He worded his pledge in a letter and was about to hand it over to the Pontiff with a few personal words, however when facing the Holy Father in person he was unable to speak. He was just standing there. Face to face with the Holy Father. “The Pontiff embraced and blessed me. At that moment I saw not only him alone, but the Church and Christ as well.” - recalled Moysés Azevedo, the defining experience of his life.
The way through the stomach
Confusions and puzzled thoughts preceded the action, to decide how to accomplish the commitment he had made to the Pope. How can he address the youth, how to approach the ones who are not seeking the relationship neither with God, nor with the Church. Moysés Azevedo discovered the chance that the pizza, the greatly favoured meal of the youth, hid in. It was the summer of 1982 when he finally opened the first coffee-shop where the popular meals were linked to evangelization. The youth was invited to have a slice of pizza, accompanied by good discussions, then the guests were led to the nearby Chapel, where Adoration was on around the clock. So after the pizza the guests were offered by the heavenly bread, by the Eucharist as well.
Following the meeting with the living Jesus, many were inspired to become family members of the Church. “The initiative has developed into a fantastic issue” – as Azevedo assessed the past decades. Everyone has been embraced and an enormous community has been formed, the members of which are present in more than thirty countries across the world. We can meet them in Budapest as well.
Faith is present in the hearts
The interview also covered the current situation of the Christianity. The community founder pointed out that the Gospel has been brought to South America by the missionaries arriving from Europe. Nowadays, it is the other way round. As for the faith, the Old Continent is witnessed as a sort of desert, while in South America one can really meet the living faith. “I do not take the European faith as an issue of the past. Each generation needs the Gospel, the strong witness. Faith is not a mere culture, rather it is present in people’s hearts.” - emphasized Moysés Azevedo.
The failure of the evangelization has nothing to do with the youth
Azevedo encourages each of us to seek and find a connection point, a link to the youth, by interpreting Jesus’ glad tidings. The failure of the evangelization is not the failure of the young people, since their hearts are open to reception, they are absolutely starving for the truth. If there was a failure in reaching them, it is the responsibility of the our generation, since we were unable to testify the Lord the way that would have moved the youth’s hearts.” – declared the community founder. “In Europe, faith has not died, it is just sleeping.” – he added.
Beyond the walls
As for the opportunities of the Evangelization, Azevedo expressed his views on the activity of The Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, founded by Pope Francis, and which the community founder is a member of. Moysés Azevedo is of the belief that current moments are very important both in our Church, and in our lives. Just one part of it derives from the fact that the Argentinian Pontiff represents an Evangelization being full of life. The other part is due to his missionary swing in performing his duties. People of our days should be reached by an open Church that goes out to the streets so as to preach the glad tidings beyond the church walls.
Hunger and thirst
“The Pontiff has worded a strong message by expressing in his Apostolic Exhortation that the Church has to step out and go beyond their walls to reach the people” – said Azevedo. The founder of the Shalom Catholic Community does think that the September International Eucharistic Congress pursuits this intention. Sharing Life’s bread with the hungry, Life’s water with the thirsty and the Eucharist is the way the man of our days can be addressed. Just as it is said by the Budapest World Event’s biblical motto: “All my Springs are in You.”
You can meet Moysés Azevedo in person on September 8, at the HUNGEXPO. Please do not forget to register yourself for the programs.