05/18/2021, 16.42
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WYD to provide young people an opportunity to feel at the centre of the Church

The Pastoral Guidelines for the Celebration of World Youth Day in Particular Churches have been made public. “Everyone must feel ‘specially invited’,” even “all those young people who may be looking for their place in the Church and who have not yet found it.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life today released the “Pastoral Guidelines for the Celebration of World Youth Day in Particular Churches.”

It notes that World Youth Day (WYD) will be a “festival of faith” as well as “an experience of Church”, providing an “‘opportunity for vocational discernment’ and a ‘call to holiness’” to be celebrated on the Solemnity of Christ the King. The event “can be a very good opportunity to motivate and welcome all those young people who may be looking for their place in the Church and who have not yet found it.”

The choice of the day is important. “It is a desire of the Holy Father that this should be a day for the universal Church to place young people at the centre of our pastoral attention, to pray for them, to engage young people as protagonists, to promote communications campaigns”.

To this end, “we must have the courage to involve young people and entrust active roles to them. We should include youth from the various pastoral groups present in the diocese as well as those who do not belong to any community, youth group, association or movement.”

“On this day,” said Fr João Chagas, director of the Youth Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, “the whole Church is called to gather around her young people, around all young people, to send them this great message: ‘Jesus loves you and you are in the heart of the Church. The Church has a message for you and you too have a lot to say to the Church. Today she wants to meet you, listen to you, pray with you and for you. She wants to celebrate you’.”

The WYD, which is celebrated internationally every three years, has proved to provide “an excellent opportunity for young people to have a missionary experience. This must also be the case for diocesan/eparchial Youth Days.”

“In some particular Churches, the young people who have taken part in an international WYD or who have helped organise national and diocesan/eparchial youth initiatives, are now the ‘veterans’ of these experiences and they have been involved in setting up youth ministry teams in a number of different settings including parish, diocesan/eparchial, national, etc.”

“The diocesan/eparchial WYD can be a wonderful opportunity to highlight the richness of the local Church. It is important to ensure that young people who are less present and less ‘active’ in established pastoral structures do not feel excluded.”

“Everyone must feel ‘specially invited’,” including “all those young people who may be looking for their place in the Church and who have not yet found it.” Hopefully, the WYD will offer an “experience of universal fraternity” as well as an “opportunity for young people to meet that is not restricted to just young Catholics”, so that the youth ministry ca be “inclusive, with room for all kinds of young people, to show that we are a Church with open doors”.

As a resource, the Guidelines present “the ideal motivations and possible practical implementations that will allow a diocesan/eparchial WYD to be an opportunity to bring out the potential for good that is in each young person, with their generosity, thirst for authentic values and great ideals.”

Noting that “young people want to be involved and appreciated, and to feel that they are co-protagonists in the life and mission of the Church, [. . .] missions can be organised in which young people are encouraged to visit people in their homes carrying a message of hope, a word of comfort or simply being willing to listen”.

Wherever possible, young people can “ lead occasions of public evangelisation with songs, prayer and testimonies. They can go to streets and squares in the city where their peers meet, because young people are the best evangelisers of young people. [. . .] What better occasion to promote initiatives in which young people donate their time and energy”.

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