Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila ended a conference on new evangelization on July 22, 2019, stressing the need to engage young people, reported CBCP News.
The cardinal said that many young people want a church that listens more “because often we just want them to welcome our words”.
“But now it seems that young people are telling us to welcome them, their world,” Tagle said in his homily during the closing Mass of the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion.
Also present during the liturgical celebration were Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, and Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian, the outgoing head of the church’s Commission on Youth.
The cardinal said that it feels sad when there is no one to welcome the stories of young people “especially stories that tie one generation to the next”.
“As we urged the young people to listen to our stories, may I invite you to also welcome the stories of the young,” Tagle said.
“And you will see how our stories in the hands of God are woven into the stories of God, in our families, in our lives,” he stressed.
Now on its sixth year, the PCNE was attended by more than 5,000 participants, with dozens coming from Los Angeles, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Taiwan.
Throughout the three-day conference, Tagle said one recurring theme that the youth communicated to the church and the wider society is “please welcome us, please listen to us”.
“So let us pass our songs, the song of our age generation, pass on the word of God through your experiences, your stories,” Tagle added. “Eat together, for when you are eating together you listen to one another, you tell stories.”
The event also featured some testimonies of faith from young people of different backgrounds.
Christina Lamas, executive director of the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry in the US, said the church is called to journey with the youth.
Speaking on the “New Trends in Youth Ministry” in one of the concurrent sessions, she said that young people want to belong and be connected.
“We don’t need them just to fill out our pews, the young need mentors to accompany them along the way,” Lamas said.
She also said that the youth wanted a simple foundation of honesty, loyalty, sincerity, and authenticity.
“Our goal is for the youth to encounter Christ…the young people want to know from us how Christ is being lived and manifested in our lives,” Lamas said.