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Nurturing the soul of our community

If you followed the social media platforms with the photos and videos of our 35 pilgrims at the World Youth Day celebrations, one thing was evident: the radiant spirit of our young people in Portugal.

In this global gathering, they met and interacted with people of diverse cultures in mutual moments of openness, joy in the faith, and certainly, they represented the best that humanity offers.

The question that must be asked is how we continue to encourage their excitement when they return to their various arch/dioceses. They are the torchbearers of the faith, and we should never cease to celebrate their indomitable spirit and the crucial role they play in shaping the future of our community. The Church must look for opportunities to keep them involved and keep their faith alive. In this we cannot fail.

The challenges of this time are manifold, but so too are the possibilities. Our young people face a world marked by rapid technological advancements, social complexities, and environmental concerns. Amid the turbulence of modernity, the timeless values that underpin our Catholic faith can serve as their compass.

The Catholic community serves as fertile ground for their dreams to take root and flourish. As they navigate the twists and turns of life, we, as mentors and guardians, must be their steadfast companions on this journey.

Our young flock must be encouraged to be active participants in shaping our community’s destiny. And the Church, in embracing their creativity, talents, and fresh perspectives, empowers them to be the co-architects of a better world.

While technology enables connectivity, it also poses challenges in an age where attention spans wane and virtual interactions replace genuine human connection. Our responsibility as mentors is to guide young minds in using technology judiciously, striking a balance between the digital realm and the beauty of the natural world around them.

The mission of the Church to young people must actively encompass their well-being: nurturing their mental and emotional health is as vital as enriching their academic pursuits. Churches in collaboration with schools and parents can create a supportive ecosystem where young talents can thrive and reach their full potential.

In his message for World Youth Day 2023, Pope Francis speaks to this relationship between the youth and adults of the Church: “Young people always represent the hope for new unity within our fragmented and divided human family….We need the covenant between young and old, lest we forget the lessons of history; we need to overcome all the forms of polarization and extremism present in today’s world.”

As we look to the horizon of tomorrow, let us be reassured by the resolute spirit of our young people. They are the vessels of hope and change, destined to chart a course that can lead to a brighter and more compassionate future. Together, united in faith, a community can be built that thrives on the boundless energy and wisdom of our youth.

Let us walk hand in hand with them, for they are the soul of our Catholic community, and they need to be continually reminded of this value.