PARIS, JULY 16, 2002 (Zenit.org).- At least one bishop believes World Youth Day has invented a new way of evangelizing young people.
Bishop Claude Schockert of Belfort-Montbeliard, president of the French episcopal Commission for Children and Youth, expressed this conviction in a letter announcing the departure of 8,000 French youths to Canada to participate in World Youth Day. They are accompanied by 38 bishops.
WYD has brought to the fore “a desire to learn and know ‘the grammar of faith,’ in particular, during the catecheses,” the bishop said in his letter.
“The preceding, discreet work of the ecclesial fabric (dioceses, parishes, movements, communities, etc.) has made this event possible,” he explained, adding that “WYD allows youth to take their place in the Church.”
“It has contributed to give Christian youth a certain pride in being recognized as such and for some, perhaps, simply the pride of being young,” he said. “In a minority situation and given the deeper current that tends to break or dissolve feelings of belonging, this feeling, although frail, is positive.”
Referring in particular to the French, who in 1997 welcomed WYD in Paris, Bishop Schockert concluded: “The peaceful celebration of WYD has created a consciousness … of the impact of public service that the Church can offer in building a society more open to youth.”