The first pieces of the puzzle I’m Moysés Louro de Azevedo Filho and I was born in Fortaleza. I was born in a traditional Catholic family. When I was 12 years of age I started moving away
from the Church and Jesus Christ. I began to seek happiness as most young people in this period of my life in many places that were not Christ centre such as in the parties and in dating. At 16 years of age I was invited by a friend of mine for a weekend encounter in the Archdiocese of Fortaleza. For the first time I had my personal experience with Jesus Christ, which I found true peace, true happiness. I came to understand that Jesus is the one who can fill my heart with happiness that I seek in so many places, in other people, which I did not find. In my youth years I came to understand that it is In Jesus Christ, I may live a life full of joy. Having had this experience I desire to reach out to the young people in my city. I wanted to convey, freely give to others what I freely had received, but did not know well how to do this. Beginning with weekend retreats within the Catholic school that I participated But when walking through the streets of my city looking at youth I said, “These young people want to be happy and seek this happiness in places where they cannot find true happiness.” By pure mercy I had found that happiness in a person Jesus Christ. But I didn’t know how to meet them, I didn’t know how to evangelize them. In 1980 the Pope John Paul II visited Fortaleza. The Archbishop of Fortaleza Cardinal Lorscheider invited me to represent the young people in the procession of the offertory to give a gift to the Pope John Paul II. I was very happy and I asked the Cardinal, “What gift should I give”? Cardinal told me, “It is you who must choose.” I was surprised with his answer. I ask myself,
“What a young man of 20 years of age may give to the Pope”? I choose to pray. Listening to God a strong inspiration came to my heart. The inspiration to give my life to evangelize to the young people, men and women who are far from Christ and away from the Church. This is what I offered on that day during the time of the procession of the Offertory I delivered my letter in the hands of the Pope John Paul II. In the letter I offer my life for the youth. When I met the Pope John Paul II I never said anything to him however his eyes seem to have entered into my soul! And read everything that I had inside my heart! He touched my face and he blessed me. I’m convinced that at that time I received a special grace. But at that time, I did not know what it was. After that defining moment that still accompanies me of Pope John Paul II looking at me and his hand blessing me an inspiration began to emerge in my heart of how to evangelize to the young people who did not want to hear about Christ and the Church. For the young man that is not going to mass, he needs to eat a sandwich, a pizza, I thought why not open a pizzeria to evangelize. There in this neutral space they could find other young people. With us in service we could give our testimony that Jesus Christ is the true peace, the happiness that they seek elsewhere. This is exactly what happened. On July 9, 1982 we inaugurated the first Shalom Catholic Center for Evangelization. That night the house was crowded with many young people. These young people whom attended the first night after brought their families, then came the poor. Came a real crowd! Many crowds of those who came they began to say, “I want to do what you did, I also want to offer my life to Christ and the Church, in favour of humanity!” And so was born the Shalom Catholic Community. Today we are about 900 members in the Life Community; in the Covenant Community 3,000 members; overall as a whole we have 30 000 people working to evangelize together in a new form, creativity with new means, with new methods, in the new evangelization. Evangelizing to young people, families, to the poor, through the arts and media. What matters is to testify in the heart of today’s world for the man of today that Jesus Christ is the only and true peace. That Jesus Christ is the Shalom of the Father. Shalom Community born in the Archdiocese of Fortaleza, we want to always give a strong testimony of communion with the Church because we are Church. In 1998 we had our first Diocesan Recognition by the Archbishop of Fortaleza, Cardinal Hummes. In 2007 we had our Pontifical Recognition, through the Pontifical Council for the Laity. We are an “International Association of the Faithful” with priests, lay consecrated persons and families, all together, united, in the common mission to witness that Jesus Christ is the Shalom of Father to the world today!