We will always be close to the people with whom we work, taking into account their values and aspirations. To seek out new ways for the Word of God to reach their hearts often calls for daring; to present Gospel demands in all clarity should never intimidate us.
CC&RR. Constitution 8
One of the exciting happenings of our bicentenary year has been the international congress of Oblate mission with youth which took place in Aix en Provence in March of this year. Five representatives came from each Oblate region and gave a refreshing youthful re-reading of our founding vision. Father Lougen’s opening remarks gave an idea as to how the youth respond to the invitation to seek new ways to touch others with the Word of God:
“Mission with Youth.” indicates that we do mission together with young people. They become missionaries with us. In places where youth ministry is flourishing, there is a team approach and the young people become leaders, take initiatives and have real responsibilities.
Reflecting on his travels to visit the Oblate missions around the world:
What has been striking is in different places of the world, where the Oblate charism is shared with the young people, they really love this charism. They relate to Saint Eugene and his companions. They discover in our blessed Oblates very strong witnesses of love and closeness to the poor (like Joseph Gerard and Mario Borzaga) and examples of generous faith and courageous oblation in the Martyrs of Pozuelo. The young people discover passion for the Oblate charism in its simplicity, closeness to the poor and audacity. It is a work of the Spirit that young people have a life-giving experience when they are introduced to the Oblate charism!
Another particularly beautiful dimension of this experience is that whenever Oblates involve young people in the mission, there is something wonderful that happens. The youth are generous, work hard and are idealistic. They want to be close to the poor; they want to understand and share God’s Word; they want a fellowship with others; and they seek prayerful times together and alone. With good accompaniment they become Oblates working together with us; and even without us they carry on mission. This is striking!”
“The students in your youth ministry don’t need your clever ideas and great programming skills. They need a living model—a man or woman of God who is passionate about his or her faith.” Doug Fields