Comoro, Dili, Timor Leste, 13 November 2019 -- The first full day of the joint EAO Youth Ministry and Missionary Animation Delegates held in Dili, Timor Leste opened with a prayerful morning with Lectio divina and Eucharist. At the centre was a time of silence, meditation, shared reflection, prayers of forgiveness and thanksgiving. All 30 participants received the Gospel story of Jesus embracing the child amidst his disciples (Mark Gospel 9,30-37).
The prayerful morning was animated by Fr Fabio Attard, General Councillor for the Youth Ministry: after the 90 minutes silent personal Lectio divina, came the highly participative Eucharistic celebration. Three moment of the Mass were open to creative sharing from delegates - first for the request of forgiveness inspired by the Gospel, then for small groups of 3-4 confreres as a shared homily and finally for intercessory prayer.
What are we asking forgiveness for?
Lord, forgive me, since I have lost the focus on You and the Young.
Lord, forgive me, due to human respect I didn't follow you more closely
Lord, forgive me, for not taking proper care of my parishioners and Youth
Lord, forgive me the lack of more attentive listening to You who are speaking through the Young
Lord, forgive my independence, my pride, that prevent from following You more closely.
What are we discovering in our sharing?
We realize that more than reaching out to the young we are waiting for them to come to us.
We realize that instead of serving the young people, we are looking just for new vocations.
We are grateful that the Spirit is blowing in our communities and our province and opening us up.
We are being saved by the Young, especially those marginalized, in prison or ...
We recognize that a vocation culture is not yet fully at home in our province
We are attracted by the depth and simplicity when we shared the Word of God together.
The afternoon sessions were dedicated to joint shared reflection on the 'Christ is Alive' (Christus Vivit) Apostolic Exhoration of Pope Francis, guided by Fr. Patrick Antonyraj (YM sector) and concluded with feedback from Frs Fabio and Guillermo Basanes. Attentive reading and joint reflection on the Youth Synod-based Exhortation highlights many of our typical Salesian Youth Spirituality experiences.
What strikes our hearts and minds?
We hesitate to share the Gospel message with non-Christian or secularized Youth, unless we are living an authentic Gospel life.
We are called to follow the changing face and cultures of the Young - Christ is present there.
Salesians need to go out of their offices towards the young (in the playground, in their non-formal habitat)
Salesian Assistance is the key to the faith journey - walking and talking with the young.
First and last condition of Youth Ministry is our deeper and closer friendship with Jesus Christ.
What stops us from experiencing this dynamic, this wonderful experience in your province, in your community? It is not too difficult - the Scripture, Christus Vivit (Christ is Alive) is in our hands. Simply decide to spend some time together to enter the heart of the Church, that journeys with and for the Young!
At the end of the day, Fr Martin Lasarte (Mission Sector), observer at the recent Amazon Synod in Rome, shared his experience and the wisdom for us Salesians, who are present among 69 (of 350) ethnic groups in the Amazon Region of Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. The publication edited by Fr. Martin (Salesian Amazonia - Synod challenges us) has already reached our provinces and is available (https://www.bosco.link/Missions/52558).
Materials of the EAO Youth Ministry are available on the Boscolink https://www.bosco.link/ym/52568
Materials of the EAO Missionary Animation are available on the Boscolink https://www.bosco.link/Missions