The Young in Today’s World

My call to religious life is born in the middle of a youth group. From that moment I felt the Lord’s call and I followed him in fidelity as the Daughter of Jesus. I am currently working with the diocesan youth ministry in Choluteca, Honduras. Now we are moving as a Church towards the 2019 world youth day.

 

The call of Jesus to “Come and see”, in the Gospel of St John, ch 1, resounds in my heart and opens me up to give myself totally and definitively. My call to the religious life was born in the setting of a group of young people to which I belonged for seven years. It was at this time that I heard the call of the Lord and faithfully followed it in becoming a Daughter of Jesus. Today I am involved in pastoral work with the young in the diocese of Choluteca, Honduras and at the university chaplaincy (UNICATH). I am also involved in vocational work and I accompany the young people of my parish.

The Holy Father Francis published an article: The young, the faith and vocational discernment in preparation for the Synod of the bishops in October 2018. The Pope speaks to the young so that, through the Church, they may hear the voice of the Lord that continues to ring out in our 21st century.

 

In it he says to them:

Do not be afraid to listen to the Spirit who proposes bold choices; do not delay when your conscience asks you to take risks in following the Master.

The young feel the need to listen to this new source of inspiration in order to discover the signs of our times and to be valued for the many efforts they make.

They say to us:

  • We want new ways of coming together.
  • We are asking for a Church that is closer to the people, more modern, that expresses itself in the language of today, that uses new methods to announce the Good News.

  • We are looking for a church that can connect with the ideas of today, that is not so moralising and that offers us a liturgy with more life in it.
  • We want a church that does not shy away from the world but which engages with it by proposing the Gospel of Jesus with more clarity.
  • We are looking for a church that can connect with the ideas of today, that is not so moralising and that offers us a liturgy with more life in it.

My work with the young presents me with many challenges:

  • Problems of drugs, unemployment, migration, the economy
  • Problems with relationships and in the family
  • Problems with self-identity and the responsibilities inherent in living in society
  • In my mission – how to accompany the young, get to know them and listen to them.

Accompanying the young is a difficult mission and as a Church we ask ourselves :

 

How can we best accompany the young so that they can recognise

the call of love to a fully committed life?”

At the diocesan level our young peoples’ groups have two different aspects. In the rural areas, we meet in groups of around 25 young people who are involved in the celebration of the Word, praying the rosary and in all the activities of their communities.

In the urban areas, the groups are smaller, with a maximum of 10 young people, mostly secondary or university students and some young workers. At parish level, these young people take part in church life, either as members of the parish committee or in leading the Mass and other activities from time to time.

The young criticise the different milieu in which they live: political, economic, religious and social.

They say for example :

We don’t understand why they say there is the creation of employment … when 22,000 workers have lost their jobs, their homes, when their children have neither education nor access to health care.”

Despite these realities which impact on the integrity of the young, I perceive in their groups a growth in integration, communion, and participation as indispensable elements in encouraging the young to adopt ideas and opinions that will permit them to fully develop as individuals.

We see also a desire for God, a desire for meeting with others and for self-discovery. It’s in this way that the groups of young people become spaces full of potential, for meeting and proximity among the young, for social participation, for the promotion of justice and ecological development. They become an environment for human and spiritual growth.

I note in all this, the courage of the parents in the vocational discernment where they are a principal and definitive element in the life of the young. It is their parents who accompany and orientate them, who transmit their values and beliefs and who are a reference point. Nevertheless, I see a lack of a vocational culture which could orientate the communities, the families and the young and permit a greater involvement in vocational discernment and an accompaniment adapted to the young.

Sr Nolvia Avila fj

 

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