The symposium took place from 13 to 15 April. It was organized by the Don Bosco Pastoral Institute (JPI) and the Institute for Salesian Spirituality (ISS) Benediktbeuern to mark 100 years of Salesian presence in Germany.
The first talk was given by Professor Martin Lechner of the JPI. He focussed on the diaconal concept of youth ministry. "Youth Ministry must be diaconal – otherwise it is not ministry," he said. In this context an example would be Salesian Youth Ministry, which together with the catechesis and cultural work uses education as the primary means of evangelization.
"The pedagogy of Don Bosco – just right for today" was the contribution by Fr Gesing Reinhard, Rector of Benediktbeuern and former Director of the ISS, and Angelika Gabriel from JPI.
Dr Thomas Rauschenbach, Director of the German Youth Institute, spoke directly to the young people themselves and gave a differentiated analysis of the situation of the younger generation in Germany.
Professor Hans Hobelsberger, new Rector of the Catholic University of North Rhine-Westphalia, offered some perspectives for future Youth Ministry in Germany. He said that for effective evangelization it is essential that the Gospel be offered to young people as an authentic programme of life.
The discussions all focused on the future. According to Professor Martin Lechner: "If we are talking about the future shape and future values of youth ministry in Germany, we urgently need a stronger link with the individual fields of action and working areas, as well as a greater integration with the charitable work for disadvantaged youth at risk as a fundamental means of witnessing to the Gospel."