Rome (Italy). Online meetings organized by the Youth Ministry Department for the Provincial Youth Ministry Coordinators of the world are held on 31 March, 1 – 2 April 2020.
On 27 March 2020 Sister Runita Borja, General Councilor for Youth Ministry, in the Letter to the YM Coordinators wrote: “We are living an unprecedented time in history. Our lives are touched by a common experience. Now more than ever we are called to be present in the lives of young people and to live together this difficult experience immersed in faith. Faced with the vastness of the situation we experience, there can be two strong temptations, that of despair or that of letting ourselves be paralyzed by fear.
Children, adolescents, and young people are among the most vulnerable, prone to fear, resignation, and helplessness. The Lord calls us to be ‘present’ among them.
You are already doing a lot … and I encourage you and the educating communities to creatively find the most appropriate and loving ways to be with the younger generations, so that together we can live this experience in solidarity, with faith, hope, and love. “Christ lives and wants you alive. He is in us and never goes away” (Cf. Christus vivit, 1).
In keeping with what was shared, three online meetings were planned, in Italian, English, and Spanish, to walk together and keep hope alive, to strengthen the constant connection with the Provinces of the world, and above all, to encourage the courageous and creative initiatives that are being carried out with and for children, adolescents, young people, families, and educators, in networking with other ecclesial and civil organizations and associations.
The videoconferences have the aim of “listening to each other, exchanging ideas and initiatives, sharing the experiences of this difficult time”, starting from how the Educating Communities are facing each day, between the viral pandemic, lockdown in many countries, and social and economic distress, which is manifesting itself everywhere.
Sister Runita urges the YM Coordinators to reflect as we approach Holy Week, on the reality of death, just as Pope Francis in the Angelus on Sunday 29 March 2020 said: “Jesus could have avoided the death of his friend Lazarus ( …) but he wanted to show God’s dominion over death. We see that human faith and the omnipotence of God’s love are sought and eventually meet.”
Online meetings are an encouragement to the participants, in the certainty that God’s response to the cry of suffering is not an idea, but is the person of Jesus.
What will be listened to and shared is certainly a sign of resurrection, gestures of support and encouragement, small and large lights that keep hope alive.
In conclusion, Sister Runita will recall Pope Francis’ Message for World Youth Day: “Your words are for us a beacon that accompanies the journey in the tunnel of this world suffering. Jesus says to the son of the widow of Nain, “Rise!”. The attitude, words, and gestures of Jesus are a guide for us to live this experience as believers: to see pain and death; to be compassionate, that is, to let ourselves be moved; to be close to ‘touch’, restore dignity, and the will to live; finally, to live as ‘risen’ people, to keep hope alive, to look to the future, and to discern the ‘beyond’ that already awaits us.