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
The participants of our bicentenary congress on “Mission with Youth” wrote a letter to each member of the Mazenodian Family. In it the necessity of the presence of the youth in Oblate mission was powerfully presented. Some extracts:
As we gathered at the birthplace of our Congregation, accompanied in this process by the International Community of Aix, we centered ourselves around the example of St. Eugene himself as a youth minister and model for us Oblates.
According to our Founder, our presence among youth is essential to our evangelization. The widespread poverty of today’s youth is not just a question of material deficit, but is also a deeply spiritual one that touches every area of their humanity in our diversified contexts. Despite this, we know and experience that you, our youth, have immense capability to transform this situation through your incarnating of Gospel values through the charism of St. Eugene de Mazenod.
This capability is expressed in your generosity, commitment to face challenges, authentic openness to diversity, thirst for spirituality, sense of justice, readiness for change, but most of all your zealous charity in its different forms. This is very important to us. Your presence is a gift to us. Your enthusiasm gives us courage. Your love for St. Eugene encourages us to rediscover him in today’s world and gives us new gratitude for our mission. Your love for the Church enkindles in our hearts the joy of our Oblate mission. At the same time, we Oblates are moved by your situation in today’s world, like the Founder, we want to respond to these calls, not only re-affirming that mission to youth is a fully Oblate ministry, but challenging ourselves to do more for you and with you.
We Oblates want to be challenged by you. We want to grow in a common vision that Oblate youth ministry is not just faced with diversity of our contexts, but that we have one charism that unites us all. We want to listen to you, the young people of the world, and hear your needs, so that by working together we can focus on how to get the message of Christ out into the world. In this mission we want to return to the example of St. Eugene who calls us to help each other become first human, then Christians and lastly Saints, realizing, that this is our common patronage. Only this way will we be able to help you find your true vocation and the call that God has specific for each one of you.
United in prayer with all our brother Oblates, Lay and Youth,
The participants of the Second International Oblate Congress on Mission with Youth.
“Youth Ministry, as traditionally organized, has also suffered the impact of social changes. Young people often fail to find responses to their concerns, needs, problems and hurts in the usual structures. As adults, we find it hard to listen patiently to them, to appreciate their concerns, demands, and to speak to them in a language they can understand.” Pope Francis