Ministry Day 2019
Workshop B22: “Christ is Alive with (and for) our Teens and Young Adults”
Cindee Case, MAPS, Director
Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Diocese of Youngstown
Find links to Christus Vivit, the Final Document of the Synod, the Preparatory document, and numerous articles from through the three-year process at:
The Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry also had a series of blog-posts about the process including findings of our diocesan surveys, find them posted at:
Christus Vivit Contents:
Chapter 1: What Does the Word of God Have to Say about Young People?
Who are some of the young people you recall are mentioned in Scripture?
(Exploring the young people Pope Francis highlighted....)
Chapter 2: Jesus, Ever Young
A Church always on the defensive, which loses her humility and stops listening to others, which leaves no room for questions, loses her youth and turns into a museum. How then will she be able to respond to the dreams of young people? (§ 41)
Chapter 3: You are the “NOW” of God
we cannot just say that young people are the future of our world. They are its present; even now, they are helping to enrich it. (#64) … Each young person’s heart should thus be considered “holy ground”, a bearer of seeds of divine life (§67)
Chapter 4: A Great Message for all Young People
The very first truth I would tell each of you is this: “God loves you”. It makes no difference whether you have already heard it or not. I want to remind you of it. God loves you. Never doubt this, whatever may happen to you in life. At every moment, you are infinitely loved. (§112)
For him, you have worth; you are not insignificant. You are important to him, for you are the work of his hands. (§115)
Christ, out of love, sacrificed himself completely in order to save you. His outstretched arms on the cross are the most telling sign that he is a friend who is willing to stop at nothing (§ 118)
Finally, there is a third truth, inseparable from the second: Christ is alive! We need to keep reminding ourselves of this, because we can risk seeing Jesus Christ simply as a fine model from the distant past, as a memory, as someone who saved us two thousand years ago. (§ 124)
In these three truths – God loves you; Christ is your Savior; he is alive – we see God the Father and Jesus. Wherever the Father and the Son are, there too is the Holy Spirit. He is the one who quietly opens hearts to receive that message. He keeps alive our hope of salvation, and he will help you grow in joy if you are open to his working. The Holy Spirit fills the heart of the risen Christ and then flows over into your lives. When you receive the Spirit, he draws you ever more deeply into the heart of Christ, so that you can grow in his love, his life and his power. (§130)
Chapter 5: Paths of Youth
Keep following your hopes and dreams. But be careful about one temptation that can hold us back. It is anxiety. Anxiety can work against us by making us give up whenever we do not see instant results. Our best dreams are only attained through hope, patience and commitment, and not in haste. At the same time, we should not be hesitant, afraid to take chances or make mistakes. Avoid the paralysis of the living dead, who have no life because they are afraid to take risks, to make mistakes or to persevere in their commitments. Even if you make mistakes, you can always get up and start over, for no one has the right to rob you of hope. (§ 142)
Friendship is one of life’s gifts and a grace from God. Through our friends, the Lord refines us and leads us to maturity. Faithful friends, who stand at our side in times of difficulty, are also a reflection of the Lord’s love, his gentle and consoling presence in our lives. The experience of friendship teaches us to be open, understanding and caring towards others, to come out of our own comfortable isolation and to share our lives with others. (§ 151)
But I would also remind you that you won’t become holy and find fulfilment by copying others. Imitating the Saints does not mean copying their lifestyle and their way of living holiness… You have to discover who you are and develop your own way of being holy (§162)
Don’t stand aloof, but immerse yourselves in the reality of life, as Jesus did”. Above all, in one way or another, fight for the common good, serve the poor, be protagonists of the revolution of charity and service, capable of resisting the pathologies of consumerism and superficial individualism. (§174)
Wherever we are, we always have an opportunity to share the joy of the Gospel. That is how the Lord goes out to meet everyone. (§ 177)
Chapter 6: Young People with Roots
If we journey together, young and old, we can be firmly rooted in the present, and from here, revisit the past and look to the future. To revisit the past in order to learn from history and heal old wounds that at times still trouble us. To look to the future in order to nourish our enthusiasm, cause dreams to emerge, awaken prophecies and enable hope to blossom. Together, we can learn from one another, warm hearts, inspire minds with the light of the Gospel, and lend new strength to our hands. (§ 199)
Chapter 7: Youth Ministry
(reminder, ages 16 – 29 were surveyed, so he means teens and young adults)
requires two courses of action: outreach and growth (§209).
A mentor should therefore nurture the seeds of faith in young people, without expecting to immediately see the fruits of the work of the Holy Spirit. This role is not and cannot be limited to priests and consecrated life, but the laity should also be empowered to take on such a role. All such mentors should benefit from being well-formed, and engage in ongoing formation. (§ 246)
Chapter 8: Vocation
The word “vocation” can be understood in a broad sense as a calling from God…that everything in our lives can become a way of responding to the Lord, who has a wonderful plan for us. (§ 248)
Chapter 9: Discernment
I would remind you of the most important question of all. “So often in life, we waste time asking ourselves: ‘Who am I?’ You can keep asking ‘Who am I?’ for the rest of your lives. But the real question is: ‘For whom am I?’” Of course, you are for God. But he has decided that you should also be for others, and he has given you many qualities, inclinations, gifts, and charisms that are not for you, but to share with those around you. (§ 286)
Dear young people, my joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you, outstripping all those who are slow or fearful. Keep running, “attracted by the fact of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters. May the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive at where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us”.( § 299)
Learn more about the timeline of the Synod and process towards Christus Vivit at the
Dinner and Presentation on November 4th
and learn more about the practical implications of the document during
the In-Service Day on November 5th.
(See flier in your Ministry Day folder or contact the OY&YAM for more.
It is also posted on the office Synod on Youth webpage.)
In preparing for the Ministry Day workshop on Christus Vivit and planning to host Paul Jarzembowski from the USCCB office to help us delve more into the document in November, I happened across this short article from the other side of the world that I wanted to share:
Isabella McCafferty from Wellington archdiocese’s Family and Young Church Vicariate was one of 300 young people who gathered in Rome on March 19-24, 2018 for the pre-synod meeting which was a precursor to the October synod of bishops on “Young People, the Faith and the Discernment of Vocation”. Before that, Ms McCafferty and Auckland diocese Youth and Young Adult Ministry team leader Teresa McNamara were chosen as NZ delegates to an international meeting in Rome from April 5-9, 2017 organised by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. The theme of that meeting was “From Krakow to Panama — The Synod Journeying with Young People”.
by ISABELLA McCAFFERTY
This document as a whole reads almost like a compilation of Pope Francis’ trending quotes from the past seven years. In many places he re-emphasises them in response to the last two years of listening intentionally in the lead-up to and during the synod of bishops. I mean that in the most positive sense, as throughout his pontificate, these words
have been a constant source of encouragement in my own faith journey and have inspired me in my ministry.
It has been interesting to read a document that both speaks to me personally as a young person as well as in my professional world of pastoral ministry in the Church. The first few chapters of the document address young people directly.
The second part focuses more on the practical and practitioner approach; to youth ministry, vocation and discernment. I can feel Pope Francis’ desire for young people, for me, to encounter daily the love of God and the living person of Christ. Our Shepherd shows how much he
cares for his people and points us back to what is most essential.
Many of the key themes that have become central to this synodal journey and, indeed, my own experience of this
journey, are certainly reflected in this document. These include the importance of accompaniment, a synodal approach and listening, being able to acknowledge the sociological context in which young people find themselves, focusing on discernment and vocation. Finally, there is always a call to action and renewal on the part of young people and the Church.
A great document, a gift to the Church and a solid acknowledgement of the importance of our young people. But the challenge remains. This document (and indeed all of the work leading up to it) cannot be the closing of the door on the last two years of active listening and journeying with young people. Pope Francis’ final words address young people directly once again, urging us to keep running since “the Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them!” [CV299] May the Church in Aotearoa make radical room for this momentum to move us forwards.
Here are a few practical suggestions to consider in light of this document and the journey that has brought it here. Some of these I have already been suggesting to those I have discussed these themes with over the past twelve months. As with anything, these suggestions are only a drop in the ocean of what we need to be open to if we are really to see substantial change as a result of this document and what it offers us.
Constantly return to our source — “God’s Word, the Eucharist, the daily presence of Christ and the power of the Spirit in our lives” [CV35] .
Come together — gather young people and the elderly to exchange dreams, with a look to the future [CV192].
Don’t get stuck asking “who am I?” or even “who are we?”, rather be bold enough to ask “for whom am I?” or who are we being called to live for — always our lives must look to the other [CV286].
Risk some time to engage with the document — but don’t let it stop there; be willing to listen, accompany and be moved into action as a result of what you encounter.
Thank you for allowing me to share this, NZ Catholic!
Cindee Case, MPS
Director of the Diocese of Youngstown Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.