Rome (Italy) On 24 August 2020, the General Councilor for Youth Ministry, Sr. Runita Borja, animated the videoconference with the Coordinators of the Youth at Risk (YaR) works of the seven Provinces of the Interprovincial Conference of India (PCI), on the theme : “The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the mission of the FMA. What steps for the FMA of India for a vision of the future for young people at risk? “.
The aim of the online meeting was to strengthen communion between the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the PCI Conference committed to helping children, young people, and women at risk and to share experiences regarding how the Covid-19 pandemic is reshaping this mission.
A risk factor is anything that increases the likelihood of a person being harmed, while a protective factor is something that reduces the possible damaging effect of a risk factor. The classification of “young people at risk”, therefore, leads to the commitment to protect and support young people in the transition to adulthood, accompanying them in their integral development, through the development of policies and projects aimed at this end.
In the opening message, Sister Runita Borja highlighted the importance of recognizing the challenges and opportunities that present themselves in this time of pandemic and of addressing through discernment, the demands of the poorest and most vulnerable with whom Jesus identifies. : “Truly I tell you, whenever you did these things to one of these least of my brothers, you did it to me” (Mt 25: 40).
Sister Runita concluded her intervention by taking up the words spoken by Pope Francis during the Angelus of 23 August 2020 which, in carrying out the works of solidarity, invite us to put Jesus at the center:
“It is indispensable and commendable that the pastoral care of our communities be open to the many poverties and emergencies that are everywhere. Charity is always the main way of the journey of faith, of the perfection of faith. But it is necessary that the works of solidarity, the works of charity that we do, do not distract from contact with the Lord Jesus. Christian charity is not simple philanthropy but, on the one hand, it is looking at the other with the eyes of Jesus Himself, and, on the other hand, it is seeing Jesus in the face of the poor.”
The online meeting continued with the presentation by the representatives of the YaR – Youth at Risk group, of the work that the FMA are carrying out in collaboration with professionals in various educational sectors, to reach out to those less considered by society, protect them in their rights, and offer them the possibility of education and training, so that they can face the future with dignity and hope.
From the interventions of the participants, the passion of the FMA and lay people in working with young people at risk emerged and also the responsibility to welcome them with their stories and support them, to lead them to live their lives to the full.