New Evangelization and the Youth: Evangelized and Evangelizers
Young people are the majority in the Philippines, the biggest Catholic country in Asia. The fact that 54% of the 100-million strong nation are under 25 years old only points to the importance of Filipino youth not just as objects of pastoral concern for the Church, but as leading characters in the new evangelization.
In 1995, John Paul II led the World Youth Day celebrations in Manila with a resounding call to the young, “As the Father sent me, so am I sending you” (Jn 20:21). The same call is reiterated to Filipino youth especially today: With the Church in the Philippines drawing closer to the 500th anniversary of Christianity in 2021, the renewal and growth of the faithful, the return of those who have left the Church, and the conviction of those who have remained only Catholic in name will largely depend on the efforts of the young—whether lay, religious, or clergy. Furthermore, with the Filipino diaspora, the young dispersed all throughout the world to work as overseas Filipino workers are also witnesses of Christ’s love and announcers of the Good News, especially in places where Jesus is still unknown. Moreover, the capacity of the young to bring Christ to their peers must never be underestimated. Who better to bring him to the very places frequented and inhabited by today’s youth—especially pop culture, social networking,and new media—than the youth themselves?
It is therefore expedient to strengthen and nourish the vital fields of youth ministry and youth catechesis. As St. Paul rightly put it, “‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring [the] good news!’” (Rom 10:13-15). The scriptural text has a double application here: first it points to the importance of those who will minister to the young, and second it points to the importance of the young, who, having been formed, will be sent as ministers themselves.
The Youth as an area of focus under the New Evangelization is particularly close to the heart of Don Bosco Center of Studies because St. John Bosco is the Father and Teacher of the Young. And so through its research efforts, DBCS aims to listen with careful attention to the vast numbers of young people in order to discern their deepest longings, questions and concerns; and to facilitate their encounter with the Lord who continues to hold all the answers, so that like the young man in the Gospel, they may find Jesus looking upon them with love (cf. Mk 10:21).
Academic Year 2016-2017
SPECIFIC POINTS OF INTEREST
In academic year 2016-2017, special focus will be given to Amoris Laetitia, as we explore and develop how Pope Francis’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation impacts the young.
As DBCS focuses on and engages the youth, our points of interest can be classified into three main areas:
- Youth Theology – This includes Trinity, Christology, Ecclesiology etc., developed from the young’s perspective;
- Youth Ministry – This includes Salesian Youth Ministry and Don Bosco, socio-political involvement, and youth culture and digital age; and
- Youth Spirituality – This specifically includes holiness and quotidianita (i.e. everyday life).
Furthermore, there are other themes that can be integrated with all three, such as family, sacraments, Filipino youth, leadership, new evangelization, etc.
Note: Unless otherwise stated the points of interest have been carried over from AY 2015-2016.
Research Cluster Head: Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB, SThD
YOUTH MINISTRY BY MARTYM
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