RMG – "We young people are the present": interview with Carina Baumgartner

19 June 2019

(ANS - Rome) - Today the International Youth Forum promoted by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life begins at the Casa Il Carmelo of Ciampino. The Forum, which will be held until June 22, is proposed as an ideal continuation of the Synod of Bishops last October, centered precisely on young people, faith and vocational discernment. The Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) will be represented at this meeting, which will bring together representatives of various movements, from Carina Baumgartner, a young woman from SYM Austria, who works in Salesian Youth Ministry in Vienna and who was part of the previous "Small Team", the SYM Europe coordination team.

Carina, what are your expectations for this forum?

This meeting, for me, shows that the synodal path is an ongoing process in which young people are invited again from all over the world to share their experiences and ideas - to be active. The Synod did not end with the publication of the Final Document or the Apostolic Exhortation. We keep on journeying together.

What does it mean for you to represent the Salesian Youth Movement in this meeting?

The Salesian Youth Movement is an important part of my life. This is where I grew up and was formed, it is my family within the Church. Therefore, representing it in this International Forum is a great honor. I am happy to share my personal experiences lived in recent years with the Salesian Youth Movement and even more, listen to all the experiences of the other participants.

What do you think is the role of the Salesian Youth Movement?

The topic of this International Forum is “Youth in action in a synodal church”. It´s about being protagonists as young people. In the Salesian Youth Movement, I am encouraged to be a protagonist – with the young for the young. Both in Austria as during the last years in the Small Team of SYM Europe I have been able to be an active and responsible member. I think that not all young people share such an experience in the Church. Especially the poorest among them and those who feel and live far away from the Church. This Forum is also an opportunity to reflect on what has been done after the Synod in our respective countries. Personally, in Austria, as SYM we have worked with many young people, coming from different backgrounds. We worked with the poorest, with the marginalized. We have included them in our programs, such as the "Don Bosco for Refugees", involving them in various activities. This is our way of journeying together with the young people as SYM.

Pope Francis has great trust and confidence in young people. Do you think this is an important signal?

Certainly. There is a statement by Pope Francis that I like to emphasize: “young people are not just the future, they are the present!” And I'm really convinced that we young people are the present. We have many ideas and we want to be an active part of the Church. It is nice to know that the Church wants to give young people a voice, knowing our experiences and our point of view.


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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