Thirst for God, wealth of youth

Youth is the "future of the Church" and the "torch of hope. This is indicated by the Popes and is demonstrated by the many initiatives by and for young people who work throughout the world to bring the faith and love of Christ to others.

Paloma López Campos-January 5, 2024-Reading time: 3 minutes

Pilgrims during the World Youth Day night vigil in Lisbon (OSV News photo / Bob Roller).

"Youth by itself is a singular richness of man, of a girl or of a boy," said St. John Paul in his apostolic letter "Dilecti AmiciThe "Youth and Youth" campaign is aimed at young people around the world.

In 1985, the Polish Pope addressed the younger generations to remind them of their privileged role in the Church. "Your youth is not only something of yours, something personal or of a generation, but something that belongs to the whole of that space that every man travels in the itinerary of his life, and is at the same time 'a special good of all'. A good of humanity itself".

St. John Paul II recalled that youth is a treasure, "it is the richness of discovering and at the same time of planning, of choosing, of foreseeing and of taking one's first decisions as one's own". Also "the question about the meaning of life is part of the particular richness of youth".

The Polish Pope also expressed that youth has to be "growth", a "gradual accumulation of all that is true, good and beautiful". To achieve this, the Holy Father said, "of enormous importance is 'contact with the visible world, with nature'".

At the end of his letter, the saint recalled that "the Church looks at young people". And he went even further by affirming that "the Church in a special way 'looks at herself in the young'". He encouraged everyone to recognize, care for and value this responsibility.

Not afraid to love

For his part, Pope Benedict XVI also encouraged young people to grow, saying in a message in 2027 that they have to cultivate their talents "not only to conquer a social position, but also to help others 'to grow'". In this way they will succeed in being "witnesses of charity" throughout the world.

The German Pope invited young people to be courageous, to "dare to love, to desire nothing more than a strong and beautiful love, capable of making your whole life a joyful realization of the gift of yourselves to God and to your brothers and sisters, imitating Him who, through love, has conquered hatred and death forever." To achieve this love, Benedict said, "the indispensable help of divine grace" is essential. He also indicated that "the great school of love is the Eucharist".

Youth of hope

In recent years, Pope Francis has also addressed young people on several occasions. In his message for the XXXVIII World Youth Day wanted to encourage the hope of the new generations. However, he also admitted the complexity of the current situation in the world.

That is why with great affection the Holy Father said: "Dear young people, when the thick fogs of fear, doubt and oppression surround you, and you fail to see the sun, follow the path of prayer".

Francis encouraged young people to be "torches of hope for others". But for this, he noted, faith has to be "concrete, attached to reality and to the stories of brothers and sisters."

Young initiatives

This "active" faith and hope of youth has thousands of different representations within the Catholic Church. The initiatives of the new generations to bring the light of Christ to the world are multiplying all over the globe. Since it is not possible to mention all the existing ones, here are some of the initiatives that the youth of the Church have in place:

-"Christ in the City". College students and young professionals take to the streets in the United States to care for the underprivileged. Their main motivation is to create bonds of friendship with those who are homeless.

-"FOCUS". Apostolate in universities by and for young people.

Hakuna. The well-known group of young people enthusiastic about their faith. It is widely known for its songs.

Of course, there are also the hundreds of young people who share their faith on social media and the internet to help other Catholics. For example:

Father Casey. A Franciscan monk who uploads videos to YouTube talking about Catholic Church topics, from the most controversial to the simple ones.

Grilex. A famous rapper who talks about God in his songs.

Katie Ascough. A young Irish mother who has a platform for the formation of Catholics.

It seems that, in one way or another, the youth of the Church are aware of their role. They are thirsty for God and that is their richness.

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