Fraternal delegates spoke about the need to foster in young people, through prayer and asceticism, a personal relationship of friendship with Christ in times characterised by “improvised masters who proclaim themselves to be holders of the truth.” God calls on all young people to be mediators and bridges, conscious that “we are all children loved by God”.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – This morning, the Synod on Young People focused on education as an antidote to the threats looming over young people, such as fundamentalism, corruption and loss of one’s cultural roots.
In their address, the bishops looked at how to respond to the desire for justice engraved in the hearts of young people. Suggestions converged on providing a good Christian and human education that was not exclusively Western.
This requires a cultural shift with more attention on issues like migration, poverty and the loss of cultural roots that afflict so many young people in developing countries.
The joyful witness of faith from the latter must also be drawn upon. In some African countries, for example, the aspiration of young people to the consecrated or priestly life is a joy for the family and society.
The moving testimony of an Iraqi described a daily life of threats, kidnappings, killings and escapes, like that of the 120,000 Christians from the Nineveh Plain who faced with the threat of the Islamic State group. His greatest fear is that loss of faith might leave Iraq without Christians.
The presentations by fraternal delegates were also significant. In the morning, Rev Tim Macquiban, director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office, highlighted the value of lay movements. In the afternoon, six members of other Christian denominations spoke.
The Metropolitan of the Dardanelles, Nikitas Lulias, from the United States, represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He called for a new wave of freshness, a new breath of the Spirit to help Christians showcase their faith to young people without rigid formulas, yet respecting the truth of the Gospel.
Bishop Athanasius of Bogdania, delegate of the Romanian Orthodox Church, stressed the need to encourage young people through prayer and asceticism to develop a personal relationship of friendship with Christ in times characterised by “improvised masters who proclaim themselves to be holders of the truth.”
On behalf of the Lutheran World Federation, Julia Braband, a young German woman, said that young people are the present of the Church, not just its future. Hence, one must look into their eyes, listen to them and shared with them.
Marco Alfredo Fornerone, the Waldensian representative in the World Communion of the Reformed Churches, emphasised the “surprising closeness” with the Synod felt in the Vatican, and called for people “to dare to listen” because “reality is more important than its idea”.
Another representative of the World Council of Churches, Martina Viktorie Kopecka, centred her address on God’s call to all young people to be mediators and bridges, conscious that “we are all children loved by God”.
Finally, the Anglican bishop of Nairobi (Kenya), Joel Waweru Mwangi, praised the Pope and the Catholic Church for listening to young people. The effects of the breakdown of the family will be as catastrophic as climate change, and Christians are called to speak against both.
In their address, the Synodal Fathers reiterated the importance of the family and of educators, both of which are the roots out of which come young people, like branches of a tree that needs to grow.