Renewing the Vision: Part 4

Part Four: A Guiding Image for Ministry with Adolescents

He summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick]. He said to them, "Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic." . . . Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere (Lk 9:1–3, 6).

How does Jesus send you? He promises neither sword, nor money, nor any of the things which the means of social communications make attractive to people today. He gives you instead grace and truth. He sends you out with the powerful message of his paschal mystery, with the truth of the cross and resurrection. That is all he gives you, and that is all you need (Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day 1996).

A Vision of Youth Ministry captured the dynamics of ministry with adolescents through the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus (see Lk 24:13–35). This story became a guiding image for ministry with its emphasis on the relationship between young disciples and their Lord, a relationship characterized by presence, listening, faith sharing, and celebration. The Emmaus story will continue to guide the Church's ministry with adolescents, but a new image is emerging—the image of young people with a mission. Just as Jesus sent out the Twelve (Lk 9) and the seventy-two (Lk 10) to carry out his mission, today he sends out young people to proclaim the Good News and to build a world that is more just, more peaceful and more respectful of human life and creation.

The Holy Father captured the urgency of young people's mission at World Youth Day 1993 in Denver.

Young pilgrims, Christ needs you to enlighten the world and to show it the "path to life" (Ps 16:11). The challenge is to make the Church's yes to life concrete and effective. The struggle will be long, and it needs each one of you. Place your intelligence, your talents, your enthusiasm, your compassion, and your fortitude at the service of life.

At this stage of history, the liberating message of the Gospel of life has been put into your hands. And the mission of proclaiming it to the ends of the earth is now passing to your generation. . . . The Church needs your energies, your enthusiasm, your youthful ideals, in order to make the Gospel of life penetrate the fabric of society, transforming people's hearts and the structures of society in order to create a civilization of true justice and love. Now more than ever, in a world that is often without light and without the courage of noble ideals, people need the fresh, vital spirituality of the Gospel.

. . . The world at the approach of a new millennium . . . is like a field ready for the harvest. Christ needs laborers ready to work in his vineyards. May you, the Catholic young people of the world, not fail him. In your hands, carry the cross of Christ. On your lips, the words of life. In your hearts, the saving grace of the Lord (August 15, 1993).

The Church and world need the faith, gifts, energy, and fresh ideas of young people. The entire Church, and in a special way ministry with adolescents, must empower young people for their mission in the world. We must ensure that young people are well equipped for their special mission in the world. All of our efforts to promote an active Christian discipleship and growth in Catholic identity must lead toward mission. This is our special responsibility to the young generation. We pray with the whole Church that we can meet the challenge of Gaudium et Spes; ". . . the future of humanity lies in the hands of those who are strong enough to provide coming generations with reasons for living and hoping" (no. 31).