In a region that has been so torn by warfare and crisis, and by hatred and violence, the Saint John Paul II Youth Pastoral Centre supported by Aid to the Church in Need is often the first place where they hear the message of love.

This centre in Sarajevo, Bosnia’s capital remains faithful to its motto, “Respect for minorities is to be considered the touchstone of social harmony” a simple statement taken from Pope John Paul II’s 1989 Message of Peace.

 The centre organizes a range of events and meetings throughout the year, for 300 volunteer helpers and 5,000 or so young people who visit the centre over the course of the year.
For example, in an ecumenical summer camp for Catholics and Orthodox, they learn to overcome prejudices and respect and esteem the individual, and not merely focus on liturgical and theological differences.

The same is true of the interfaith seminars – all moderated by experts – which are helping to build human bridges across the religious divides. One of the especially uplifting and engaging events is the “Marijafest”, a music festival attended by several hundred young people where the foundations of Christian charity are laid. Respect for others and the awareness that we are all children of God can help to overcome the gulf between us. Sharing Faith in Jesus Christ and in the inexhaustible power of His Love can also give us the strength to forgive.

Aid to the Church in Need is supporting the youth centre’s work of reconciliation with a contribution. Would you like to support us to open the hearts of these young people to this gift of faith?