A space where we can listen, share, and discover together possibilities for young adults and the Church.
Jesuits need to be “real bridges between the young and the Church”, said Father General Adolfo Nicolás in a letter to the Society written as a synthesis of the ex-officio 2011 letters.
The ex-officio letters are the annual letters from every Province on a subject which Father General indicates each year. Last year, he asked for information about Jesuit work for youth.
“God has much to do with youth and their joy”, the letter begins. “Many of us still know by heart the old Latin response at the beginning of Mass: “Ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem meam” (“I approach the God who brings joy to my youth”).
Fr Nicolás shared that he had a profound experience of the truth of these words when he encountered thousands of young people participating in the MAGIS programme in Loyola in August, prior to the World Youth Day in Madrid.
“There, for all to see, was this simple joy of young people: contagious, inexplicable, abundant. You could not miss it. Neither the heat of the summer sun nor the sudden rains could alter that happiness. I felt that God must have been very near,” he said.
Fr Nicolás said the ex-officio letters provided valuable and consoling information about the many good things Jesuits and collaborators are doing to serve young people. However, they also raised concerns in some areas. In schools, there is the danger of becoming so concerned with administration that opportunities for relationships are neglected. Fr Nicolás also raised concerns about the relationship between the Church and the youth and asks how Jesuits can be “real bridges between the young and the Church”.
“Young people know that they will not remain young forever. That is why they seem to be in a hurry to make the most of their youth. We have to understand this and cooperate with them in this adventure.”
Jesuits also need to examine what more we can do to help poor and marginalised young people.
“We have to ask further: what is the quality of our presence among the young who are poor, excluded, or vulnerable, the young who are most in need? I wonder whether each Province could plan in such a way that at least 20% of our resources (men, structures and finances) could be directed to these marginalised young people.”
Jesuits should also be helping young people discern their direction in life and providing them with spiritual accompaniment after graduation.
“Young people have a hard time making well founded decisions. Our first concern will be to help them become free; from the decisions made about and for them by others.”
Father General’s letter ends with a challenge to Jesuits to discern “whether we are giving the best possible service that the Lord calls us to give at this time and whether the accompaniment the young people receive from us is adequate.”
Source: SJ News www.sjweb.info/news/index.cfm?Tab=2&publang=1