How much I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God! – Pope Francis
It was extraordinary this past month that it seems the Papal Nuncio to the United States, the Vatican’s “ambassador”, and liaison between the Holy See and the US, has been reading all about our focus on youth engagement and how we are focused on creating a new way of engaging the youth of Naples in fellowship and activities, CYO. Well, he may not be reading our bulletin and website, but his speech to all the US Bishops on November 14 sounds like he has been paying attention and it certainly illustrates that we are on the right path:
Many adults lament that young people are not in the pews. If they are not in our churches, why are they not there? The then-Cardinal Bergoglio diagnosed the problem stating:
“I would say that the gravely serious thing that all this is expressing is a lack of a personal encounter with God, of an authentic religious experience. … I believe that one has to recover the religious act as a movement towards an encounter with Jesus Christ. (s. Rubin-F. Ambrogetti, El Jesuita, Bs. As., 2010, 80-81.)
But we, the Church, have to seek them out to provide the occasion, the environment, and the moment that allows for this encounter. Do young people have a sense of being sought out, welcomed and appreciated enough that they can have this encounter with Jesus Christ through the Church? We know that youth are critical to the life of the Church, and that it is becoming increasingly difficult to transmit the faith to young people in a changing environment and in a Church in which very often they do not have a profound sense of belonging, even if they have the desire to belong. Our youth find themselves at the “peripheries” of both the Church and society. We must go out to them.
But who are these young people? Only those who are part of our organizations, parish youth groups, and Catholic schools? Or all youth? lt’s a good question! It’s also very hard to answer as young people are diverse and constantly changing. Not only are they changing, but so is our culture. We are living in a period of profound transition, of a silent cultural revolution, which affects us all. It is an invisible process or movement, happening almost by inertia. It is not so much a movement in space as of the mind, an existential exodus, a cultural change, and cognitive migration. In a changing environment, it is we who must be “0n the move”,open to real conversion, a true metanoia of mind and heart, so that we may be authentic witnesses to Jesus, becoming real instruments of encounter for our youth.
A new language, new methods, and a new missionary ardor is necessary so that each young person may experience tangibly the mercy of God. Our methods of evangelization require a profound reconsideration to see whether they are effectively communicating the authentic Christian experience – with closeness, simplicity, warmth and transparency.
While the money has been pledged in our Build Our Future, Serve Our Past capital campaign to build our Life Center and some of our other urgent needs, we still need our entire Parish Family to give in order to reach our additional goals, including the detailed execution of the above programs. If you have any questions, please contact Joe Lichwalla, the Campaign Coordinator at 239-495-2001 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also learn more information about our Capital Campaign at: http://www.sjecc.com/future