Italy – Focus on Youth Ministry

29 April 2021

(ANS - Rome) - Organized by the UPS Institute of Pastoral Theology, on Monday 26 April the round table "Eyes on the Youth Ministry" was held, and saw over 150 people connected online.

The event began with the greeting of the Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Fr Antonio Escudero. The moderator, prof. Marcello Scarpa, introduced Fr Salvatore Currò, director of the Institute of Pastoral Theology, that in terms of "pastoral conversion" identified the fundamental key for ecclesial renewal in putting the dynamics of the encounter at the center. At the beginning of the Christian faith, as Benedict XVI pointed out, there is precisely the encounter-event with a Person, Jesus.

Fr Gustavo Cavagnari, professor of Pastoral Theology, then spoke. He recalled that Evangelii Gaudium pushes towards an inclusive Youth Ministry, that is, involving "people with adult skills", which collaborates with other educational agencies, that reaches all young people, in their environments and contexts, also and above all extra-ecclesial.

Then Fr Rossano Sala, director of the magazine Note di Pastorale Giovanile, special secretary of the Synod of Bishops on young people and full professor of pastoral theology at the UPS, re-proposed the synodal vision of a ministry that evangelizes by attraction and through community witness. The Pope's dream for the YM of the third millennium, Fr Sala explained in detail, is that it becomes a true school of communion, capable of offering experiences that mark "a time destined for the maturation of adult Christian life", "in view of the vocational discernment "(DF 161).

Thanks to the questions of the interested parties, the reflection delved even deeper. Professor Currò recalled the Synod's push to cultivate the desire to be able to reach all young people in order to walk with them, walk alongside them. It is, after all, the perspective of Laudato Si' and Fratelli Tutti, which definitively abandon a "one-sided" style of evangelization, as they accept the challenge of an evangelization in which, while we grow together in humanity, we become more Christian.

Fr Cavagnari stressed that every intervention must always take into account a specific context on which to operate a careful pastoral discernment.

Finally, Fr Sala proposed three ways of renewal:

- on the pastoral level: to work seriously with depth of thought and courage for a YM in a vocational key (Cf. DF 138-143).

- at the community level: enter the rhythm of discernment, understanding that when asked "What should we do?" there is no pre-packaged answer, but a method (recognize, interpret, choose).

- from the academic point of view: passing from the temptation of competition and careerism to the style of synodality.

After a new moment of debate, questions and answers, that further broadened the horizons of vision, prof. Alberto Martelli, professor of Theology of Education at IUSTO and editorial advisor of ElleDiCi, underlined some traits of the roundtable: fidelity to reality, attention to ecclesial identity, the rediscovery of the anthropological pole (vocation, donation, corporeality, encounter), and suggested new ways of working.

The event can be viewed here.


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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