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ECYD will change the world

Updated: Mar 15, 2022

Fr. Vito was in Cheshire for a young men’s retreat and I sat down with him to talk about ECYD.

He just arrived in Washington, D.C., after two years studying Spiritual Theology in Rome. Now, he begins a new mission with ECYD boys and girls.

We knew each other working in the territory of Mexico with ECYD. He has a lot of experience in apostolate with ECYD members. Some things were more ordinary, while others were a little crazier. Totus Tuus was a popular apostolate centered on handing out rosaries. Tension grew, as they were handing out rosaries in a place close to where there had been a shooting only a few weeks before. It was a great initiative to get people praying for peace.

One man published a picture of himself receiving a rosary and the great testimony that had moved his heart. ECYD changes the world. Christ changes the world through the apostolic experience of these young men and women.

They do acts of service and live out their faith. How does this change the actual participants? The kids hear a lot about the faith, but they don’t always have a chance to have an encounter with the faith. CCD is great, but it is not the entirety of the faith. You can’t become a Christian by reading a book.

Some kids think that religion is just a series of rules. After the experience of the apostolate, kids come back and say: “This is my faith!” Religion is not a series of “don’ts” but rather a series of “do’s.”

Speaking about ECYD identity, the kids feel a part of something. They are invited to look beyond their own local reality and come into contact with the whole world. Identity is formed also in the apostolate. A lot of times, formation talks about specific themes. Then, the identity grows through apostolic experiences. ECYD identity is coming to understand and feel that one is a friend of Christ.

They get involved in decisions. They help to plan out and develop the apostolic activities. Kids want to do things. It is important to have them involved. They love receiving responsibility. Sometimes the parents are surprised by the capacity of their kids of leading great activities. They want to feel heard. At the same time, it is important to always maintain our own authority as leaders in the group.

It is also important to form a great alliance with the parents. It is also good to offer an array of apostolic activities to fit the needs of each family.

We can almost look at ECYD as boys and girls who do apostolate.

When a kid feels lazy or shy, we have to know how to accompany them to the activities of the apostolate. Some kids need to warm up to the apostolic activities. Some people need more time.

Prayer and apostolate go together in a very particular way. Never go to Mass with your hands empty! Every host you see is a person you saw today. Mass might feel different in Missions because we get a different feel. Our faith is an active faith, which is not the same thing as activism. Prayer is also an apostolate. Praying is missioning, as St. John Newman reminded us.

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