Austria: “Desert Flower” youth group of St. James Vicariate to participate in biblical musical

By: Lexa Pasia - Published: July 29 Thu, 2021

AUSTRIA - In a small village in Northern Austria, a group of young Hebrew Speaking Catholics, mostly from a migrant background, are working on a biblical musical, based on the book of Ruth, together with other Christian youth from Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands. 

“Desert Flower”, the youth group of St. James Vicariate for Hebrew Speaking Catholics of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, participates in this unique summer program, under the auspices of KISI – God’s Singing Kids, an Austrian organization dedicated to connecting youth to the body of Christ and the bible through music and dance. The whole experience is kindly funded by the Erasmus + Program of the European Union.

The encounter serves three purposes, according to Fr. Piotr Zelasko, the leader of the youth group and the soon-to-be Vicar for Hebrew Speaking Catholics in Israel. First, it allows the youth to experience the faith in a different way. By working on the musical from a to z, costumes, songs, dances, acting and all, the youth see their faith become alive. Second, the encounter with the youth from different countries fosters an atmosphere of diversity and embeds in the youth values of tolerance and multicultural awareness. Third, the story of Ruth, herself an immigrant and a real “woman of valour”, gives the youth a platform to wrestle with questions of identity, migration and belonging. The struggles of Ruth, and the resilience she had to manifest as a sole immigrant woman, allow her to be a positive role model for the youth, living as a Christian minority in the secular Jewish society.

The musical will be presented by the group this coming Wednesday in Austria. Right now, plans are being made to present the musical in Israel as well, in English or in Hebrew.