24 October 2013 Rev. João Chagas is officially the new head of the Youth Section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. His predecessor, Rev. Eric Jacquinet, worked at the PCL for the five-year period 2008-2013. His mandate concluded with World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, and now his successor is a priest from Brazil.
Fr. Chagas was ordained a priest on 21 December 2001. In 2011 he began to help out the Youth Section with preparations for WYD in RIo. He has had extensive pastoral experience with the Shalom Catholic Community, an international association of the faithful recognised by the Pontifical Council for the Laity on 22 February 2007. It is with this community that his priestly vocation was born and nourished.
After studying philosophy in his native city of Fortaleza, he came to Rome to study at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum). He returned to Brazil for three years, and then took up studies in spirituality at the Pontifical Institute for Spirituality (Teresianum) in Rome where he continues with his doctoral studies. He served for two mandates on the General Council of the Shalom Community and ten years as international assistant. He helped to establish the Community in countries in Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia. His experience includes youth ministry, vocational ministry, catechesis for youth and adults, liturgical animation, etc. He has also worked in the organisation of large events, and has led young people from the Shalom Community to WYD in Rome, Toronto, Cologne, Sydney and Madrid. While in Rome, he has been a volunteer with the San Lorenzo International Youth Centre for a long time. He also has parish experience. From 2007 to 2011 he had the pastoral care of the parish of Sant’Anna (Pian Paradiso) in the diocese of Civita Castellana in the province of Viterbo.
Fr Chagas received the official communication confirming his appointment as head of the Youth Section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity on 22 October 2013, memorial of Blessed John Paul II. In his letter to those who are in charge of youth ministry for their bishops' conferences, associations, movements and new communities, he entrusted his task to the intercession of the pope who founded WYD and who will be canonised on 27 April next year.
After two years working alongside his predecessor, Rev. Eric Jacquinet, he wrote in his letter to youth ministry leaders: “I am aware of my limitations, but I want to give myself fully to the Lord in this service. I assure you all of my willingness to listen and to journey together with you in building up the Kingdom of God”.
All of us at the Pontifical Council for the Laity wish him all the best in his work and for an abundant harvest in the Lord’s vineyard.