Online Initiative ‘Alive in Christ’ Seeks to Bring the Gospel to Young People Worldwide

The project led by missionaries of the charismatic community Shalom consists in weekly Zoom meetings during which discussions, prayers and catechesis are offered in three languages.

Gebhard Fugel, “The Ascension of Our Lord” (detail), ca. 1893
Gebhard Fugel, “The Ascension of Our Lord” (detail), ca. 1893 (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digitalization of the world, the Catholic Church would be wrong to squander such an opportunity to reach out to people who are away from the faith. It is with this conviction that a group of young missionaries of Catholic charismatic community Shalom launched “Alive in Christ,” an online initiative meant to connect young people from across the globe to exchange on topics related to faith.

A private association of the faithful founded in Brazil and recognized by the Holy See, Shalom is now present in dozens of countries, promoting dynamic communities and missionary lives in order to bring the Gospel to the greatest number of people.

This new initiative offers weekly Zoom meetings in three languages (two in English, one in Spanish and one in Italian) to share moments of prayer, catechesis and free discussions. Moreover, each participant is encouraged to follow a dailyBible study on one’s own and has the possibility to get a personal accompaniment with a consecrated member from the online community to be listened to and ask for prayers.

“Young people need to get together with people their age as they identify themselves with other young people’s way of talking and praying, and may have some difficulties in creating bonds with older people in their parishes,” said Wallace Freitas, the Rome-based coordinator for Alive in Christ’s Italian-speaking group. An active member of the Shalom Community at the “San Lorenzo” International Youth Centre, Freitas also participates in an evangelization initiative every Friday in St. Peter’s Square, with the Cross of the World Youth Day.

“Through this online program, people from different cultures can meet and find out that they have the same challenges, questions and interests in life, and I like to see that they find in God a common point,” he said, adding that people from different time zones attend the various meetings along the week, including a Japanese woman who wakes up at 4 in the morning to participate in online events that take place at 8pm in Italy. “We also have an Australian man and another from the Philippines that wake up especially for us, because they need to feel a sense of belonging to a community.”

The first anniversary of the foundation of Alive in Christ, April 2021, was marked by the launch of an official website that offers multimedia contents and spiritual reflections. It is, in Freitas’ view, the best way to reach those furthest from the Church.

“The numbers are increasing, but the most beautiful surprise is that it is already having a real impact on these people’s life and that after just a few months, the fruits are many,” he continued. “I’ve seen young people embark on a more concrete path within the Church, some of them even got committed in the life of their country, locally, while others have started vocational paths, with our community or other movements, going on mission to other countries.”

“My ambition is to have the largest possible number meet Christ and be aware that he is alive, and loves everyone. If more and more young people are convinced of that, we win.”

Oscar Wergeland, “Service in a German Village Church,” ca. 1880

This Sunday, I’ll Be Going to Church. Will You Join Me?

“The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.” [CCC 2181]