The EYM, a lifestyle for young people with an Ignatian flavour

Celina Segovia Sarlat, Religious of Jesus and Mary - EYM, Mexico on behalf of the Eucharistic Youth Movement International Team
[From “Jesuits 2023 - The Society of Jesus in the world”]

The Eucharistic Youth Movement: where God is present in the life of children and young people.

The EYM is said to be a lifestyle more than a movement, because by using age-appropriate vocabulary and well thought out activities, it sparks an internal process that leads children and young people to base their lives on Jesus. Over the years of watching EYM kids grow until they develop into group leaders, I have discovered the journey of those who live as disciples and become true apostles. The Gospel and the Eucharist gradually form their hearts, helping them to get to know Jesus and His plans. This becomes the basis for their own mission.

When we read the Gospel, we see Jesus forming his disciples through his words and modus operandi. However, understanding this is not just an exercise for the intellect but a process of acquiring internal knowledge which moulds the disciples’ hearts and way of life until they become an example for others. That is how they share what they are experiencing and the things that have enriched them through their own personal testimony.


One of the things I enjoy the most in the EYM are the weekly sessions in the chapel, when, after the Gospel reading, we prepare and invite young people to enter into the scene just described “as if they were really there.” They share what they have imagined: what the place was like, the weather, how the people were dressed and what they said... It’s amazing to discover young people’s ability to picture Jesus walking, talking, listening to others, forgiving, healing and being inclusive... It is lovely to listen to them grow in the practice of contemplation. Naturally, each individual is on their own interior journey. It is perfectly normal for there to be a difference between those who have just joined the group and others who have been on this journey for several years. But regardless of where young people are on the journey, they all find it enriching and all encourage one another.

At the EYM, we also favour age-appropriate Eucharistic liturgies. These help young people bond with Jesus and be nourished and moulded by Him so they can love as He loves. Can this really be achieved using adult language, without helping children to understand a liturgy that will make little sense to them given their social context and the dynamics of the environment they grow up in? When the music and readings are adapted for children and the priests adapts to them too, children become like sponges, soaking up who Jesus is, grasping his mission and being nourished by Him.


I think that experiencing the Gospel as much as the Eucharist like this encourages hearts to be open to mission, as qualified by the life of Jesus. He is compassionate in the face of real-life situations, daring to observe first, then reflecting before taking action. This approach to the Gospel and Eucharist helps children to develop compassion, a sense of solidarity with others, and to pray for the challenges facing the human race. The Pope’s intentions educate the gaze and broaden the outlook, enabling children to move from self-focused prayers towards prayer for others that contemplates painful world situations today and the many challenges we are called to respond to as Christians.

As they become progressively more aware of other painful situations, the EYM helps young people to get involved in serving and building the Kingdom. Sometimes, these activities are suggested by group leaders because this is a youth movement for young people. Therefore, my role as companion is simply to make it easy for them to encounter Jesus, just as John the Baptist did when he pointed to the Lamb of God or like the beloved disciple, who, recognising the Risen One before the miraculous catch of fish, exclaimed, “It is the Lord!”


By the time they leave the movement, EYM kids have developed a closer friendship with Jesus. This transforms their awareness, equipping them with the ability to discern and the desire to join others in constructing a more humane, fraternal world, where the Kingdom of God among us is even more evident in our daily lives.

The EYM, as the youth section of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network and a pontifical work entrusted to the Society of Jesus and supported as an Ignatian charism by the Religious of Jesus and Mary, has helped me and many others to create a culture of encounter. Thanks to this and other Pope’s Prayer Network initiatives, the peripheries of pastoral ministry can widen, enabling those involved to discover God in the many ways He becomes real to us. For me, in particular, the EYM has developed my creativity. Increasingly, it is helping me to see that at the end of the day, it is God who is leading the movement, enabling it to bear fruit.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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