Finding my life’s mission
A young woman commits herself to building a more united world after being at Genfest 2018
By Clare Kafoglis
As a little girl, I always dreamed of a world that was united and celebrated different cultures and faith traditions. As I got older and began to understand more about the world, I started to grasp how difficult this would be. There are so many things that tear societies apart: natural disasters, politics, physical walls that divide cities and countries, cultural differences; the list goes on.
Upon entering the World Trade Center in Manila, where Genfest 2018 was held, I was mesmerized by the thousands of young people who all shared the same goal: to go beyond all borders and live for fraternity.
When I think of the 6,000 young people who participated, my faith in a united world is restored. If each of us who travelled to the Philippines this summer brings back an attitude of mutual love, then it’s possible to make a real difference and take a major step towards a united world.
The Genfest was an opportunity not only to learn about how we can go beyond all borders, but also to practice living this idea. In the hot sun and thick humidity, we waited for many things: buses, doors to open, meals to be distributed and even to get our accommodations.
Yet hidden opportunities were there in all the waiting. They were moments for us to meet new friends, open up a dialogue to learn about a different culture and to share in our little moments of suffering. It was in these moments of waiting that we created some of the best memories.
Despite the challenges, the Genfest was an experience that changed how we treat others and view our life’s mission. Through workshops, musical performances – and lots of selfies – we learned to say “yes” to a life dedicated to unity and spreading God’s love.
One of the days during the Genfest was dedicated to working with Hands for Humanity, a community service opportunity. I was assigned to a Coastal Clean Up. As our group got to the mangrove, we were all shocked by the amount of trash and debris along the beach. I realized that in this moment, Mother Earth was an example of Jesus on the cross. This trash site was not the fault of one country or one group of people, but all of us.
I can say “yes” to God and work for a united world by sharing this experience with my friends and family back home in Houston and find concrete ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Overall, the message that really stuck with me was shared with us by Focolare president Maria Voce. She expressed how we should try to love in everything that we do and in everyone we meet.
There will be moments when we fail. Failing to love is okay and it is inevitable. Our mission in that moment is to start over and to love louder, stronger and harder.
When we live our lives in this way, other people notice and catch on; our love will spread like fire and ignite the world.
If you are interested to read more articles like this: