By Francesca Merlo
On Saturday, the Pope stressed the importance of giving young people space, of making them protagonists and of motivating, during an audience with members of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity for the redemption of Captives, who are in Rome for their General Chapter.
This year, their General Chapter revolved around Youth and vocational ministry, a topic which the Pope described as being “vital for the Church”, as he reminded participants that it was one of the main themes in last October’s Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.
“You yourselves have recognized in the Instrumentum Laboris of the Chapter, that you find some difficulties” in the use of language and in finding a method for communicating with the youth, said Pope Francis. “You rightly feel the need for specific formation for pastoral accompaniment and discernment”.
The meaning of life
The Pope went on to say that “there are still young people today who are searching for the meaning of life. Young people who are capable of dedicating themselves unconditionally to great causes. Young people who are passionate about Jesus and who demonstrate great compassion for humanity.
The Pope explained that even though they do not all discuss this search for the meaning of life, we must think about what it means when they are anxiously seeking happiness, love, success and personal accomplishment. This search, said Pope Francis, is all part of the world of aspirations. These aspirations need to be ordered ad organized, just as the Creator did in the beginning of time, when he moved from chaos to cosmos.
You could and should
“This”, continued the Pope “is where you could and should come in”. To help young people to find harmony in their aspirations, always giving them space, making them protagonists and motivating them.
Pope Francis then goes on to talk about the importance of being close to young people. “Young people want us to be close to them”. Youth ministry entails accompaniment, and this entails closeness and “being present in the lives of young people just as Jesus was to his disciples in Emmaus”.
Whether close or far
Closeness is the only thing that can guarantee a fruitful evangelical relationship with young people. The Pope continued saying that closeness also means going towards the young people who are far, it means not limiting yourself to welcoming those that come to you but also reaching out to those who have distanced themselves. Accepting and welcoming them as they are.
The Pope reminded the participants that they must be patient and that they must persevere. Always motivated by the desire to bring the youth to God.