On a solemn and early Holy Saturday along the empty streets of Williamsburg, emerged hundreds of Latino youth and young adults outside Transfiguration parish. They were assembling into the line of march on Marcy Ave. to display their faith in full force at the Caminata 2018.
“The vast majority of the young people here today are Jornadistas – a dynamic movement in the Diocese of Brooklyn that grew out of the Cursillo movement,” said Auxiliary Bishop James Massa. “The Cursillo movement has its roots in Spain, so this is one very powerful way in which the Hispanic presence in the Church is renewing the whole Church.”
The Cursillo de Cristianidad movement was founded in Majorca, Spain in 1944. More than 20 years later, the vision came alive in the Brooklyn diocese through the efforts of the Spanish Vincentian Fathers – the order of priests and brothers founded by St. Vincent de Paul.
According to the spiritual director for the diocese’s Jornada Movement, Father Kuroly said the Vincentians had a vision to grow the same seeds of faith from the Cursillo movement within the youth. That’s when the Movimiento de Jornadas de Vida Cristiana, or Jornada Movement, was born.
It translates into the Journeys of Christian Life Movement. The bilingual Catholic lay-movement of Latino youth and young adults has showcased its love for “Chuito,” or Christ, and His Church through the vibrant and vivacious faces that make up the Jornada Movement. Together, both lay movements have embraced its call to evangelize and spread the Good News. More than 60 parishes around the diocese share the mission and vision of either the Cursillo and/or Jornada Movements.
“Fifty years later we continue to minister,” added Father Kuroly. “We’ve expanded over the 50 years. There are things that have, of course, changed. We go beyond just serving the Latino community. We have retreats now in English and in Spanish but the vision and the mission of the Jornada still exists and that is to evangelize. This is a way of kind of celebrating our 50 years.”
During the annual procession, the Jornadistas made stops throughout the day, organized in order to visit numerous churches. On the agenda was Epiphany Church, Williamsburg, San Damiano Mission in Holy Family, Greenpoint, McCarren Park for a bilingual public rosary, St. Francis de Paola, Williamsburg and the last stop was where the diocese’s Vincentian Fathers are based – St. John the Baptist in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The theme for this year’s Caminata was “Este es el momento por el cual fuiste creado” or “This is the moment for which you were created,” a theme that was designed with Brooklyn’s bishop in mind.
“Bishop DiMarzio has made this the year of vocations,” said Father Kuroly, “and so in light of his asking us to pray for vocations and think about our own vocation, we have used this as the opportunity to very much make that the theme of this Caminata and asking our young people to take their own vocation and their discernment of their vocation very seriously.
The Jornada has produced many vocations – the married life, we see many married couples that are walking the streets with their children living their vocation each day. We have members who discerned a call and are now serving as priests. Many are serving as deacons and many are serving in the single life. But all of us living together and striving for that call to holiness.”
Living the “Chuito” Spirit
By the afternoon, the line of march made its way through the Saturday commotion on Bedford Ave. Onlookers young and old curiously stood along the sidewalks wondering what was all the ruckus.
That’s because the Jornadistas interrupted the streets with sounds of joyous dancing and upbeat singing about God’s love and mercy.
For Jornadista Cesar Carrillo, such a love for Chuito translates into a fearless cry to share that love when passing up strangers by telling them ‘Jesus Loves You!’
“I believe Jesus loves everyone no matter race or religion,” said Carillo, representing St. Dominic church in Bensonhurst. “No matter who you are, your ethnicity doesn’t matter. Jesus loves everybody. We’re all God’s children so it works that way.”
As the Jornadistas made their way to McCarren Park in Greenpoint for a public rosary, an upbeat and retired diocesan priest seemed to never skip a beat. Msgr. Perfecto Vazquez serves as chaplain for the diocese’s Cursillo movement and is from Galicia, a region in northwest Spain.
Galicia is also the home base to where the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage takes route. Could it be the connection behind why at 88 years old, Msgr. Perfecto chooses to walk the Caminata instead of sitting out? He proudly exclaims instead “For Jesus, everything for Jesus and the youth.”
He shared the significance of the Caminata.
“This special day of prayer prepares us for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ because His Resurrection is assurance for us that also we will have eternal life with Him in heaven, with the Blessed Mother and with the saints.”
For Jornadista Eury Andeliz, following Christ’s footsteps to Calvary motivates him in a positive way.
“That’s the important thing of a Catholic person,” said the junior at Baruch College who attends Transfiguration Church. “Be the best that you can be every single day. Even if you’re going through hard times, just push forward in life.”
Faith Kept Her Going
Hours and miles later, the Jornadistas reached their final stop at St. John the Baptist Church. What didn’t end was the same joyful spirit that began the day’s procession.
“Even if I was tired, it’s like, it’s ok because it’s in the faith…even though partway my feet started hurting or my back hurt,” said Jornadista Brianna Ortiz from Incarnation Parish, Queens Village, “…faith and the people around me kept me going.”