Rome (Italy). From February to June 2021, twenty-one new Provincial Coordinators for Youth Ministry, from various countries around the world, participated in the online formative meetings organized by the Youth Ministry Sector of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, with the aim of introducing them to the their service of pastoral animation and to share the synodal vision of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and of the Magisterium of Pope Francis.
The meetings were held in English, Spanish, and French, to encourage dialogue and in-depth study of the topics covered. The contents were developed in two online meetings.
The words of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit – “Youth ministry has to be synodal; it should involve a “journeying together’ (…) No one should be excluded or exclude themselves” (CV 206) built the golden thread of the interventions of Sister Runita Borja, General Councilor for Youth Ministry, and of the collaborators of the Youth Ministry Sector.
The general theme, “Animating a Synodal Youth Ministry for Life and Hope”, developed around two fundamental aspects:
- the provincial and local style of Youth Ministry, according to the FMA Constitutions and the Documents of Proper Law of the FMA Institute, in particular, “The Guidelines for the Educational Mission of the FMA” (LOME);
- indications for the development of the Provincial Youth Ministry Project.
The participatory methodology favored the sharing of experiences of the different Province contexts, the creation of new bonds, and promoted communion and mutual help between the new Coordinators. One of the aims of these formative meetings was to initiate a process of accompanying the Coordinators in the perspective of coordination for communion and to broaden horizons and create new synergies.
In sharing on the theme of synodality, the participants highlighted how an open and collaborative style favors an effective and meaningful presence of young people and among young people. In some contexts, there is a need for a change of mentality, for a co-responsible involvement of lay educators in the Salesian educational mission.
Some requests that emerged from the participants were: to foster dialogue with the Provincial Council; create synergies for networking between Coordinators and other educational agencies; share the aids elaborated locally; clarify the profile, roles, and specific functions of the Provincial and Local Coordinator of YM and of the Province Coordination Team.
The new Coordinators expressed their appreciation for the material sent periodically by the YM Sector to study in depth the “Guidelines for the Educational Mission of the FMA” (LOME) and to make a Salesian reading of the ecclesial Magisterium.
The appeals of the current situation, in continuous change, and the charismatic responsibility of the YM Coordinator in her educommunicative mission, arouse the request to continue the journey together to face the pastoral challenges of today.
“Educators, both lay and religious, are persons consecrated to the educational mission to young people” (LOME 150).