Dear bishops the youth of the IMBISA countries want to thank you for giving us this opportunity to join your plenary assembly and the floor to speak because one of the things that we the youth desire is to be listened to and to be heard. When we reflect on words to share, we have drawn from sacred scripture, Christus Vivit and our current realities especially the youth and people of God from the countries of IMBISA.
Christus Vivit a beautiful exhortation for the Young people and the entire people of God was released in 2019 and for the Bishops in 2022 Making it a focal point of the IMBISA Plenary Assembly allows us to see that we are part of the Church that reflects on the young and allowing us the Young to be part of IMBISA Plenary Assembly indicates that the Church has understood that to appropriately reflect on the Young we need to do so with the young. Nothing is for us without us.
In the midst of all our problems in our world and in our church that cause anxiety and alienation among many young people. We have hope that you invite us young people to take our place as the “now of the Church” and also to voice our opinions.
This action is a positive step, the truth is not everything can be accomplished in one seating however this has allowed us to have a vision and understand the direction home. Bishops, Priests and the religious at large we look at you to be shepherded; it’s a relationship of reciprocity “my sheep hears my voice, I know them and they follow me” John 10:27.
To know requires paying attention to the signs of our times, the experiences, longings, joys and sorrows of the Young and the Church at large. It is in the intense keen gaze of the shepherded who watches with keen understanding, discerning the differences of the flock and communicating in the language best understood.
At this seminar we have taken an important step of observing and understanding;
- Through listening to the Youth
- Creating a space of dialogue as youth where we have felt free to express ourselves. You are Bishops clearly asking the question what we seek, pondering on ways to satisfy our needs with us
- Accepting our message, with Humility
- You have allowed the features of youth to shine fourth in all our beauty participating in our joy.
We echo the words of Pope Francis in Christus Vivit (paragraph 37), Young people can offer the Church the beauty of youth by renewing her ability to “rejoice with new beginnings, to give unreservedly of herself, to be renewed and to set out for ever greater accomplishments”. The Youth is not only the future but also the now of the Church.
We plead with our Bishops to Journey with us and assist us to ensure that we are more established, for instance we need youth centres to allow us to carry out our tasks.
We see the beauty of IMBISA the unity that the Bishops have, we the youth also desire the same unity. This can be achieved by the provision of assistance in facilitating the creation of a youth structure in the IMBISA region that will mobilise for resources and capacity building for young people to be able to run functioning structures and commissions for the advancement of the body, soul and mind of a human person which includes but not limited to faith and skills development.
YOUNG PEOPLE ARE PREPARED TO CONTRIBUTE
We are alive to the challenges Our Bishops are facing in shepherding young people as a flock that is willing to learn and still young enough to adapt to change. We are willing to work closely with the Bishops to ensure the formation of the young people is in line with the social teaching of the church.
We come with diverse skills and talents ready to offer the IMBISA Bishops and the rest of the Church at large to respond to the challenges of our days including issues and challenges of Youth unemployment and Entrepreneurial development that have hindered the youth participation in the Church. So we are prepared to offer solutions in the possibilities in long term and short-term, of which one is the establishment of a database that documents the skills, knowledge and profession of the young people within IMBISA. We believe this will help empower the youth to take up active roles to assist the church in its need.
Allow us to expand and speak on the aspects of My sheep hear my voice in John 10:27
“Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline” Rev 3:19, Therefore fellow young people let us understand that Christ loves us and our Church representing Christ out of love for us needs to correct and discipline us.
- We need to be open to listen and have a heart that is ever young open to the wisdom of our roots.
- In a family it’s never only the parents who are wrong, conflict, discomfort, misunderstanding and lack of trust is as a result of both the parents and the youth. Therefore as the youth we need to examine ourselves too, what are the areas we need to learn.
We need to make a difference St. John Don Bosco as a young man went to church, listen to the homily. Then used his creative ability to share what was taught to the other young man in a way that they will understand, be entertained, and captivated in light of the gospel. Let us also be creative to bring the light of the Gospels to ourselves and others. The horizon is our We can “Run, jump, shout, but let us not sin.”
What is next?
Mark 8: 22- 25 provides a great reflection on the next steps to be taken “They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything? “He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
Dear Bishops like Jesus in the gospel of Mark as scripture says they came to Bethsaida, there is a need to move, walk around, know the community and make time to ensure that pastoral actions are the main focus on the mission.
He took a blind man by the hand; take us by our hands and guide us, there are things that we the Youth do not know, we need to be directed, we need to move from our comfort zone . Have patience on us, engage us to along the way , that our eyes may be opened. It is true that there are bishops, priest and religious who are doing so much, please don’t go weary continue pressing and engaging until we see the vision of a Church fully Alive is present.
Fellow young people, let us have patience not to stifle our zeal but to understand that what we desire will take time and continuous engagement. Like the Blind man the differences we desire will take time, let us not allow frustrations and various reasons that have caused discouragement and separation from the Church allow us to remain blind or see people like trees. Rather like the blind man remain in engagement until we see clearly.
CALL FOR A NEW LANGUAGE
This is an opportunity to pose a challenge to us as the youth and the entire church at large. The challenge on the new outlook of what is an understanding of the Church. The church should be thought of what it truly is the baptised faithful and with Christ who is our head.
Often times when we use the language of the Church and the Youth or the Church and the Laity as much as it articulates the desired emphasis, we have identified the separation it creates, the idea of them and us and at times this leads to a separation of responsibilities and accountability of the people of the Church.
Firstly, we need to emphasise that we are the Church (the baptised faithful with Christ who is the head). The extent of the transformation we desire will depend on the level of commitment and sacrifice we make in responding to the call of making disciples of all nations Matthew 25:19 and following Christ our Lord “who is the way the truth and the life” Jn 14:6.
The transformative actions led by the Holy Spirit will bring life into the church that the words of our good Lord “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do” John 14:12.
We each need to ponder and reflect on the areas of influence in our communities and take the courageous steps to act and make a difference. Our actions to our communities is an encounter with Christ Himself, a call to love. St. John Paul II in love and responsibilities said “Love is never something readymade, something merely ‘given’ to man and woman, it is always at the same time a ‘task’ which they are set. Love should be seen as something which in a sense never ‘is’ but is always only ‘becoming’, and what it becomes depends up on the contribution of both persons and the depth of their commitment.” Therefore service is a vacation for all that is never is but always becoming, as we evolve new challenges will arise and we need to be ready to service.
Thank you, dear Bishops, for listening to us and being willing to accompany us young people to answer to the call to lead the Church in new ways, as Mary and so many other saints like St. Francis of Assisi.
The synod Church is a church on the journey, with clear intention and directions of which in all our undertakings points to ensure that the kingdom of God is on earth as it is in heaven. These missions of Christ are accomplished. The journey is filled with many ups and downs and the Church is a living proof that has taught us that the most important thing in this life is being an integral with a beautiful heart, She will always be our living inspiration of life. We ask for your patience dear bishops because many times we the youths don’t have time to listen for understanding but to react. We extend our grace too as you action on our needs as detailed in the Synod letter and Christus Vivit, involve us in this task, the Church is OURS.
We pray that the almighty God can bless you in your ministry so that as King Solomon you will have the wisdom to lead and guide Gods people wisely.