The importance of the presence of youth in catholic communities in the world cannot be over-emphasized. The undeniable fact remains that the youth in the church are the future of the church. In this regard youth formation has a significant implication for the future of the church. Attention to the young ones in the Christian community helps greatly to deepen their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ through bestowal of grace, community prayer and liturgical experiences. Therefore, negligence in the area of youth formation is tantamount to discouraging involvement of youth in the life of the church.

There are many laudable things that could be said of the indefatigable efforts the pastors are making to build the church and maintain church life; to bring the living Christ to bear on the life of the members of the Church in various parishes. However, with sincerity, much is left to be desired in the care that is rendered to the youth in some churches. There are parishes that could be used as good example, which are well ahead in youth formation and promotion of youth participation in the life of the church in varied ways, yet there are many parishes which unfortunately and virtually lack attention to the youth.

The youth need support and direction in every aspect of their lives because they are most often vulnerable and anxious in the face of increasing socio-economic problems cropping up in many countries of the world. In their search to reach the means of realizing their life dreams they need adequate direction and support from their parents as well as their respective Christian communities in order that they may not be misled through varied deceptive voices in our world today.

Youth ministry is not a new concept in the church; organized catholic outreach to youth has far and long history due to its usefulness and indispensability in the church. Canon 835 of the 1983 code clearly points out the need to exercise the sanctifying office in the church. The diocesan bishops are presented as the principal moderators, promoters and guardians of the entire liturgical life in the churches entrusted to them. In the likewise manner the priests, deacons and other members of the Christ’s faithful are mentioned as having their own parts in the same sanctifying office in the church. Married Catholics and parents have special share in this office when they live their married life in a Christian spirit and provide for the Christian education of their children.

The responsibility of providing Christian education and liturgical formation to the young ones in the church is first of all the responsibility of the parents and secondly, the responsibility of the parish churches. If the parents lack essential knowledge about the church and their catechetical grasping has been drained away with time without replenishing in that category. How can they give such education in a proper manner? ‘Nemo dat quod non habet’. The ministry of catechesis recognizes that faith development is life-long and provides appropriate contents and processes around key themes to the recipients. In this sense the parents as well as the youth need to be fed sufficiently and continually or periodically with the spiritual goods in order to deliver the “expected” in parish life.(cc.213;773-780)

In a parish where there is obvious lack of effective on-going Christian education and liturgical formation of youth, the Sunday obligation among the youth most often assumes a mechanical fashion and this reflects in the deadly passivity of youth during Eucharistic celebration. The lack of faith/liturgical formation to the youth may result in wrong dress code to Mass, chatting during the liturgy, operating of mobile phones during Eucharistic celebration, smoking outside the church while celebration of the mass is in progress, walking out of the church before the final blessing, etc.

The sharing of all the baptized in the one priesthood of Christ is the necessary key to understanding of the Second Vatican Council’s call for a full and active participation in the liturgy (SC 14). Full participation means every member of the community has a part to play in the liturgy. This, however, does not mean that everyone does everything. The young people in the church can contribute immensely to the richness of the liturgy in their own way with support and direction from parents and pastors.

The following outlined recommendations regarding promotion of youth liturgical participation and formation in general are not something unknown. The knowledge is already grasped by the pastors but the handicap hangs on their implementation.

1).Every diocese must have a “viable” diocesan structure for youth apostolate with a full time chaplain. This office may go with that of vocation.
2). Parishes must have Parish Youth Councils (P.Y.C.) responsible for youth programs/activities and coordination in the parish.
3). It would be beautiful to have at least once a week a youth mass in the parish in which authentic participation of the youth should be encouraged.
4). Creation of youth choir to animate and lead youth in the singing during Eucharistic celebration and other youth functions in the parish.
5). Church hymnals are necessary; it does not suffice to project words of liturgical songs on screen. Youth should own Church hymnal individually so that at least they can learn and sing liturgical songs even at home. This can improve singing in church.
6). The office or commission of sacred music and liturgy in each diocese can facilitate provision of liturgical songs. It should bear in mind that certain form of liturgical songs appeal most to the youth. Variety of songs especially those purposely composed for youth usage can enhance youth participation in the liturgy. Use of one song for ten continuous Sundays, for example, can inject boredom and passivity in the youth during liturgical celebrations.
7).Effective preaching of the word of God tailored to the understanding of the youth and post-baptismal catechesis for the youth.
8).Youth biblical apostolate in the parishes. (The list is not exhaustive).

There is a need to respect always the presence of the youth in the church. The responsibility of youth formation rests heavily on all parents and adult members of each community with the support and direction from the pastors. Whatever we do as a community to direct and support our catholic young ones is in a way building the future of the church. I hope this exposition and above recommendations which are not anything new will in a considerable way be a vital reminder to the duty we owe to the youth in the church.

4/21/2017 02:00:07 am

Great piece..



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