Youth ministers, Pope Francis says, are called to gather the questions of young people of today and, from them, to initiate a true and honest dialogue to bring Christ into their lives.
The Holy Father made this statement in a message he sent this morning to the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, and to participants in the 4th European Congress on Youth Ministry.
The three-day conference began today in Rome. It is sponsored by the laity council in collaboration with the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences on the theme: “A Young Church, Witness of the Joy of the Gospel.”
Speaking on youth ministers who are “undertaking again to ‘walk together through the streets of Europe,’” he invited them to recall that “as we walk while conversing and discussing together, Jesus approaches us in person and walks with us.”
“We are well aware that there is much to be done,” the Pope said, “I ask you not to ever tire of proclaiming the Gospel, with your life and word: Today’s Europe is in need of rediscovering it!”
Pope Francis noted that those who work in the field of youth ministry do a valuable service for the Church.
“Young people are in need of this service: of adults and mature contemporaries in the faith, who accompany them on their path, helping them to find the way that leads to Christ. Much more than the promotion of a series of activities for young people, this ministry consists in walking with them, accompanying them personally in the complex and at times difficult contexts in which they are immersed.”
He told them that they come together for this reason, to create a “network” of acquaintances and friendships at the European level.
Encouraging them to consider the present reality of European young people with the look of Christ, he said doing so provides a great lesson.
“He [Christ] teaches you to see not only the challenges and problems, but to recognize the many seeds of love and hope scattered in the terrain of this continent, which has given the Church a great number of men and women saints, and many of these are young! Let us not forget that we have been given the task to sow, but it is God who makes the seeds grow that we scatter.”
“While you sow the Lord’s Word in this vast field that is European youth, you have the occasion to witness the reasons of the hope that is in you, with gentleness and respect.”
To this end, the Holy Father said, “You can help young people to realize that faith is not opposed to reason, and thus support them to become joyful protagonists of the evangelization of their contemporaries.”
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