Germany - Bishop Oster, SDB: "Without prayer and a spiritual life, one is incapable of loving and meeting others."

17 July 2017

(ANS - Passau) – Mons. Stefan Oster, SDB, Bishop of Passau, Germany, is currently President of the Youth Commission of the German Bishops' Conference. In an interview he talked about the 2018 Synod of Bishops focusing on young people, his expectations of how young people can find faith ... and revealed the secret to staying young.

By Christoph Renzikowski

Bishop Oster, the founder saint of your Congregation used to say, "Lord, give me souls, take everything else." Is it still possible to develop work with young people with this approach?

Don Bosco wanted to participate in the lives of young people so they could obtain success in their lives. Translating this motto into today's language could be: we help young people to be good Christians and responsible in society.

What did you learn from meeting with young people?

From the relationship with young people I learned to be patient, to be attentive to people, to engage with people, and to learn how to enter into a democratic organization of things and associations. Young people may debate and discuss any number of topics, but they always manage to find solutions. I certainly have learned a lot from them.

What will be the most important themes of the Synod of Bishops on Youth?

In my opinion, the most important question we have to ask ourselves is: how might young people find faith today? In the United States they have investigated the reasons for youths distancing themselves from the Church. The results are surprising. Young people between the ages of 15 and 35 have suggested that this detachment is related to issues such as sexuality, homosexuality ... But over 60% reported this distance is because they think there is no relationship between the world of science and the world of faith. I hope the Synod can answer these questions and issues. And I hope that young people can speak before the gathered bishops.

You are a young bishop. What is the secret of your youth?

(Laughs). From a biological point of view, we all advance with age, but to tell you the truth, I keep myself young because I engage with young people and I am with them. I live in a community residence and this helps me to have a direct relationship with the young. But there is an important element of life: prayer. I think a person, even a young person, without prayer and spiritual life, is not capable of loving and meeting others.



ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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