Iași Archdiocese’s Department for Minorities organizes summer camp for Roma youth at Zmeu

One hundred Roma children and young people participated in ‘The Camp of Joy’, organized on August 21-22 at Zmeu Parish by the Department for Minorities of the Orthodox Archdiocese of Iași.

“This camp, as well as all the other camps and activities that will follow, are part of a missionary program that we want to implement in the parishes within the Archdiocese of Iasi where Roma communities exist,” Fr. Alexandru Baciu from the Department for Minorities told Basilica.ro.

As reported by Fr Baciu, the project aims at knowing the specificity of each parish that includes Roma communities, the degree of involvement of young Roma in the life of the ecclesiastical congregation, identifying pastoral problems and implementing specific solutions.

‘The Camp of Joy’ (E loshipnasqo Taboro) was opened on Wednesday, August 21, 2019, at Zmeu with a blessing service, followed by several workshops of financial education, creativity, and relational communication.

Roma young people attending the Camp of Joy at Zmeu Parish. ©Dept. for Minorities / Iasi Archdiocese

The same day, during a workshop entitled ‘Comoara’ (The Treasure), the young people learned the importance of teamwork. The day concluded with a Q&A session (‘Ask the priest’), during which the participants received answers from the clergy to their spiritual issues.

The next day started with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, followed by workshops and sports games. The teams were named after the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and love.

“I believe that certain barriers and preconceptions have been broken down, leaving room for building new relationships that are much more transparent,” said Fr. Sergiu Constantin Tudose, parish priest in Zmeu.

‘In this camp we rediscovered inner drivers through which we managed to experience the joy of communion, just as the Christians of the first centuries carried on their entire existence,’ he added.

Fr. Sergiu Constantin Tudose talking to Roma children about the Orthodox faith. © Dept. for Minorities / Iasi Archdiocese

Fr Sergiu Tudose stressed that despite the difficulty of the mission and the challenging management of such events, ‘the fact that we managed to bring a little joy to the participating children challenges me to repeat this experience.’

‘The Camp of Joy’ at Zmeu Parish ended with a session of conclusions, prayers and with the promise of reunion.

Two best friends smiling in front of the camera at ‘The Camp of Joy’. © Dept. for Minorities / Iași Archdiocese

The camp was organized by the Department for Minorities within the Mission Sector of the Archdiocese of Iasi in partnership with the Pascani Romanian Orthodox Youth Association.

Photography courtesy of the Department for Minorities / Iasi Archdiocese

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