Church and Youth
Church and Youth
Rome (Italy). “I wanted you to be the center of attention because I have you at heart”. These are the words that Pope Francis addresses to the young while he hands over the Preparatory Document of the next Bishops’ Synod, the XV Ordinary General Assembly, that is entitled, “The Young, Faith, and Vocational Discernment”.
“The Church places the young generations at the center of its dialog. In the official communication of the theme of the Synod that will take place in 2018, we read in fact, “the pastoral solicitude of the Church toward the young…to accompany the young in their life journey toward maturity”. The theme expresses the will of the Church to listen to the young, to make them feel that they have something important to say to the Church. In the accompanying letter for the presentation of the Preparatory Document, the Pope cites the Rule of St. Benedict that “recommended the Abbots to consult also with the young before every important choice because often, it is precisely to the youngest that the Lord reveals the best solution”.
The international Community has recently recognized the significant role the young have in the building of peace and of the world, a home for all peoples. In various areas, in emergency situations, and in daily activities, thousands of young people involve themselves in gestures of solidarity to promote fraternity, to offer relief and solace. In this synod and its preparation during the year, which we will all be involved at various levels, we can really experience that:
- the young are the present and the future of humanity;
- that the young are not miniature adults, but that they are persons who have rights and are capable of responsibility;
- that youth is not a ‘waiting room’; it is a time of great dreams and ideals that need to be concretized with everyone’s collaboration;
- that the key to reach the young is the young themselves.
The Preparatory Document begins with the invitation to joy: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be full” (John 15: 11). This is God’s plan for the men and women of every time and therefore, even of all the young people of the third millennium, no one excluded. To proclaim Gospel joy is the mission that the Lord has entrusted to His Church. It is a reminder and an invitation to all of us that, beyond the various contexts, personal situations, strategies used, we cannot forget that ours is a GOOD news. Good because it is the bearer of life. Good because it fills life with joy.
Even we, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, and all the groups of the Salesian Family, “want to take up the journey with the young because we want their Good”. We do not want to only question ourselves on how to accompany the young in the discernment of their choice of life in the light of the Gospel, we want to listen to the desires, projects, dreams that the young have for their life as well as the difficulties they meet in accomplishing their project at the service of society, in which they ask to be active citizens” (Sr. Runita Borja, FMA, Councilor for Youth Pastoral).
To complete the preparatory document, there is a questionnaire of fifteen questions followed by groups of three ulterior questions for every Continent, which foresees the gathering of statistical data on each local Church to better read every situation, and lastly, to share good pastoral practices already occurring so that they may help the entire Church. The young will also be fully involved in this preparatory phase through a website of the Internet ready to collect their expectations and their life.
Entire text of the Preparatory Document: http://www.vatican.va