Young People, the faith, and Vocational Discernment.
A Synod Youth Rally was organized by ‘Yuvadarshan’ on 9th July 2017 at Jeevan Darshan Kendra, Giriz. It made a history for Vasai Diocese because in this Rally 369 youths from various parishes, fifteen priests, and six religious sisters participated along with Archbishop Felix Machado, the Bishop of Vasai. The rally began with a prayer service focussing on the transformation of Zacchaeus. Fr. Allwin, the Director of Yuvadarshan addressed the delegates , giving the jist of the message of Pope Francis addressed by him at the World Youth Day, Krakow (Poland). He challenged them if they could change the things around them? He also said, “Do not delay when your conscience asks you to take risks in following Christ. Take care of your spiritual life: your relationship with God because this is the backbone of everything we do and everything we are.” Further he said that there is a need of an hour for youth to actively and energetically participate in every sphere of the Church activities at the zonal, parish, deanery, diocesan and even national and international level. He also emphasized the idea of a need to meet regularly and share feelings, emotions, and thoughts to seek answers to our daily issues. After the introduction by Fr. Allwin the members of the Yuvadarshan who were resource persons introduced the preparatory document on youth through an interactive presentation. The document is divided into three major chapters.
The first chapter reflects on the theme of ‘young people in today’s world.’ This chapter gives voice to the ethical and spiritual journey of youth. It also sheds light on differences on basis of birth rate, history of every youth and also with regards to gender. It focuses on inclusiveness and mainstreaming ideologies.It deals with ideas like a rapid change in the world due to socio-economic difficulties which have turned to be an advantage for one yet bane for another. Problems like unemployment, migration are also addressed in this document. Due to scientific advancement and popular throwaway culture, multiculturalism and multi-religious and that of the generation gap and diverse culture, introduction to mixed parents and second generation has a paved way to issues like exploitation, poverty, family and much more. There has been a craving for belongingness. Thus comes the reference points on personal, institutional basis where it has been urged to connect not only virtually but also realistically. Finally it focuses on young people and the choices they make in life.
The second chapter reflects more on ‘Faith and Vocation.’ The concept of faith is more related to discernment where one has to select between good and almost good. The idea of vocation is not limited to being a religious or married man or woman but also to any type of work and the commitment towards the work. It was also revealed that this document focuses mainly on spiritual discernment that is developed on minor details of Recognizing, Interpreting and Choosing.
The last chapter is based on ‘Pastoral Activity.’ Here, the document urges the youth to be leaders and be out of the box as they walk with the community. Here, it is also pinpointed that youths should be outgoing and risk bearers as they accept the call of Jesus and become the agents of young people, community and reference people in places where there is a cluster of youth, on daily life basis as well as in the digital world where Mary becomes their role model.
The Synod Rally ended with an insightful message by Archbishop Felix Machado. He said, “The priests’ alone are not the Church but the young people along with various types of people altogether are the Church. The Church is interested in youth and is ready to listen, accompany, talk and work together hand in hand with youths. He also narrated the history and the inception of the synods that started in early church and are still continued to be held. He also agrees that Church faces issues and there is a need to deal with them. The Pope or Bishops alone cannot work on it. The Church and the only Church as a whole can help us to not only address and debate over these issues but also through such Synods can we take a leap for change. Further he said that there has been an immense change in society and thus exists a wide range of generation and cultural gap. He urged the youths not to idealize the virtual world to be the reality but to come back to the pavilion and understand their importance of sharing the reality. Only if the existing reality is shared then only it will be possible for others to relate in a real way.
He stated the Synod has already begun in Vasai and promised the youths that he would take the message when he meets the Pope Francis. He ended with the note of the importance of decision making and discernment in today’s competitive world.” The Programme ended with a blessing by Archbishop Felix Machado and a selfie was taken. This little gesture brought joy and smile on their faces of the youth.
Reported by: Bliss Rollan Gonsalves, Merces.