What A Privilege to Work with Youth

Feast of Christ the King (A) 2020

Youth Sunday

Today is the feast of Christ the King. The Bishops of England and Wales have designated it as Youth Sunday. As I am vocation’s promoter for my Order in England and Wales I would like to say something about Youth. I consider myself blessed to be working with so many young people. I have come to realize that they are not the Church of tomorrow they are very much the Church of today.  I am often moved by the faith of young people; never doubt the depth of that faith. Recently I opened my newspaper and saw a young lady whom I had listened to on a zoom conference the night before. She was in the paper because she had volunteered to be infected with Covid 19. She did this, she took this risk, in order to help find a vaccine. She was not thinking of herself but of others. What generosity of spirit. There are so many young people doing such good work, giving up their time to be of service to others. 

I was at World Youth Day in Panama last year. What an experience of youth that was. I will never forget it. Already I am looking forward to the next one in 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal. The Pope spoke to the young people. He encouraged them. Told them that they were loved by God. He said they must share that love, especially with those who are not loved.  Later that year the Pope wrote a letter for young people. He wrote the letter following what’s called a general Synod which took place a few months before. Then hundreds of Bishops and Archbishops and Cardinals converged on Rome to discuss young people. It was the first time this had ever been done. One of the most remarkable things about the Pope’s letter is that the young people helped him to write it.  Before the General Synod they held their own Synod with their own report.  The Pope incorporated their report into his letter. It is a wonderful letter, called ‘Christus Vivit’, one of the most uplifting and stimulating church letters I have ever read, and yet few people have read it.  

I will finish with a quote from the Pope who speaks to young people in his own inimitable way. He says: “Dear Young People, make the most of these years of your youth…. Take risks, even if it means making mistakes. Don’t go through life anaesthetized or approach the world like tourists. Make a lot of noise! Cast out the fears that paralyze you, so that you don’t grow old before your time. Be alive! Give yourselves over to the best of life! Open the door of the cage, go out and fly! Please don’t take early retirement.’ (143)

I would just add one word to what the Pope has said, and that is we need you young people in the Church; together, young and not so young, we can change what needs to be changed in the Church and what needs to be changed in our world. 

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