Young people to rejuvenate the face of the Church
By Sr Yvonne Reungoat, Superior-General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians
At the end of Vatican Council II, the Council Fathers addressed a message to the young, indicating that the Council had sought to ‘rejuvenate’ the face of the Church to better respond to Jesus Christ, eternally young; to question itself on how to better respond to the call to be light and hope for the world.
The first goal of the present Synod is that of making the whole Church aware of its important task of accompanying every young person, no one excluded, towards the joy of love. This is certainly not new in the Church, but it gives continuity and importance to the great conciliar intuition: cultivate a gaze of trust towards the young generations. The young can, with their presence and their word, help the Church to rejuvenate its face, because it is typical of the young to believe in great dreams, and work for an ideal with freshness and newness.
However, it is not enough to listen to the young people. They wait for explicit invitations and proposals. Even if they seem sure of themselves, in reality they hide fragility and insecurity, and thus, expect that we adults be interested in them and offer them a clear proposal of commitment. Accompaniment is therefore, aimed at involving the young in the mission, but not as ‘executors’ of what has already been decided and planned, but rather as active and indispensable protagonists. This means listening to their ideas, entrusting them with responsibilities and commitments, and lastly, evaluating with them.
A favourable opportunity for the accompaniment of the young is the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM). This year we celebrate the 30th anniversary of its birth as a world movement. We ask ourselves: does SYM offer the young an intense fraternal life, challenging spiritual journeys, meaningful service experiences, spaces for appropriate accompaniment, and competent people for discernment?