The recap of the first part of the Gen Verde tour to Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Austria during May.
Almost a year ago we began a month-and-a-half-long tour that took us to different countries in Europe: we went to Germany, then Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. And it’s true to say that a piece of our hearts stayed there. The great thing is that just we went back! So, we wanted to give you a recap in two ‘chapters’ of what we experienced in each of the cities we visited on this brief but energising new tour!
First we went back to Poland, where a group went to lead workshops during a youth festival organized by the “Teens4Unity” (the teenager members of the Focolare Movement). With them were also young people from Ukraine, some of whom hadn’t seen their parents for a long time because of the war… the conflict is still there, nothing has changed, but after these days it was moving to see their smiles.
On 1 May we travelled to Romania, to be part of the ‘Ecumenical Youth Festival‘ in Timişoara (2023 European Capital of Culture). We were invited by the Roman Catholic Bishop Iosif-Csaba Pál. There, around 100 young people from Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary took part in our Start Now Workshop Project in the drama, dance, percussion and singing workshops to join us on stage to present the work we had done together.
Saturday 6 May: ‘Gen Verde in Concert‘ at the Filarmonica Banatul Timişoara. The hall where we gave the concert was full and the audience responded with great enthusiasm! At the end, the bishop came on stage and said: ‘How did you manage to convey the message of peace and unity so strongly? Perhaps because that is what is in your hearts! Perhaps because this is your life!”.
Before we left, we had a feedback session, where the young participants said what the Start Now Workshop Project had been like for them. “For me it’s totally new that a pop group can bring so many young people together and make them enjoy a project that is noble and good. I have learnt that everyone can be attracted to God if they have the opportunity to see Him in everyday life, in the arts and in social life. I will make use of the things I learnt as now I can put them in practice in my life to bring young people of my city together“, the words of one of the participants.
Another boy said: “Here we discovered that even if we don’t have a certain skill, we can do good things because we can work together. Working as a team is better than working alone, because we can learn something about each other. We discovered our diversity, but also the things that can bind us together. Even though we did not know each other, we were able to connect, to transmit energy between us”.
After Romania, the GPS was set to Hungary. Sometimes, when head towards a city where we have been before, we wonder can possibly be as beautiful the last time we were there. In this case, it had been almost eight years since our last visit to this city, but when we arrived it seemed like no time had passed! There, the Focolare Movement community welcomed us with enormous generosity, taking care of every detail.
In this city, close to the border, we did two days of workshops with the youth of a local school, concluding with the “Gen Verde Acoustic” concert. Finally, we had dinner with the Szeged community. Being with them was like being with family. And it was amazing to see all the hard work they put to make the young people in the school feel comfortable during our days of work there.
We invite you to read a very complete and well written article of “Új Város” magazine (New City magazine) that tells more about our days there: https://ujvarosonline.hu/kultura/gen-verde-szegeden-ket-fantasztikus-iskolanap (it’s in Hungarian, you can activate the automatic translation to read it).
This is the first part of this double ‘travelogue’ to Europe!