VATICAN, Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life •
“Young people are the heirs of a great past, the bearers of a great present, and the builders of a great future.” This paraphrase of Fr. Joseph Kentenich, the founder of the Apostolic Movement of Schönstatt, was the guiding theme of the intervention which the Secretary of our Dicastery, Fr. Alexandre Awi Mello, gave while participating via Skype in the twentieth Latin American Pastoral Youth Meeting, which was held November 18 – 23 in Peru.—
Taking as his starting point the heritage of the past, Fr. Awi—who also sent a video message —spoke of memory and of “youth with roots,” alluding to the synodal process for arriving at the present time, a fitting moment for witnessing fully the message of Pope Francis in the exhortation “Christus vivit,” a sign of a ministry that is synodal, missionary, and truly of the people.
Then, referring to the role of the young builders of the future, the Secretary of the Dicastery insisted on “living out a real communion within the pastoral care of youth: it is absolutely necessary for all groups and initiatives that work for the evangelization of youth to join forces,” he explained, because “everyone is committed to a common goal: to bring Jesus and the joy of the Gospel to every young person, striving to transform society. The ecumenical, interreligious, and ecological work carried out by young people belongs to the present and the future of the Church.”
On the same occasion Pope Francis addressed a message to the national youth ministry leaders gathered in Lima, in which he recalled the words spoken in Panama during the opening ceremony of the thirty-fourth World Youth Day: “It is the love of the Lord, which knows more of ascents than of falls, more of reconciliation than of repudiation, more of second chances than of condemnation, more of the future than of the past.” Finally, a special exhortation: “I encourage you to deepen your knowledge of the person of Jesus ever more, so that, living in the intimacy of His heart, you may become missionary disciples and witnesses of his tenderness; and so that other young people can draw closer to Him, who is eternally young, to experience the joy of his friendship and to lead an existence founded on brotherhood and on Christian solidarity.”