Canada: I am writing to you young people

Canada: I am writing to you young people

It bears the date of 12 October and the signature of the president of the Canadian bishops, mgr. Raymond Poisson, one Pastoral letter to young people.

The text was born in the fall of 2020, during the pandemic. Some video-conferences were opened electronically at three age levels: from 12 to 15, from 16 to 19, from 20 to 25. Two hundred young people actively participated in the exchange of opinions and information. From those materials was born the letter of about ten pages.

Take us seriously

After an introduction to Luke’s story (2,46-47) on the confrontation between the boy Jesus and the doctors of the law, the text opens with the acknowledgment of the appreciation of the dialogue which ranged from faith and global issues, to the hopes and to the expectations of young people.

The shared request of the young is to be taken seriously, to see their research and their wisdom recognized.

In the comparison, a willingness to faith emerges with the invitation of the bishops to be courageous, respectful and honest in bearing witness to their adherence to Jesus.

The widespread use of communication technologies by young people opens up the possibility of encounters that are also spiritually fruitful. «Although the advantages of technology are numerous, young people have testified to us that i social they can become absorbing and even wounding, resulting in feelings of isolation, loneliness, loss of self-esteem».

Virtual relationships cannot replace face-to-face ones. It is therefore necessary to find a balance between virtual exchanges and direct encounters between people. «The young people we listened to told us that they are often stressed, anxious and depressed. Pressure from peers, tensions in the family, worries at school or at work put the psychic balance at risk”. Not to mention the results of the pandemic.

The climate crisis, which they feel weighs heavily on their shoulders and on their future, calls for the task of conserving God’s gift of the earth. The advice is for a dialogue between generations and, in particular, the accompaniment of an adult who knows how to understand the reasons for the body, mind and soul of the youth.

«The young people we listened to expressed a strong desire to understand and be nourished by the faith. In one of our virtual discussions a participant said: “It seems to me that after confirmation the Church forgets us until the moment of marriage.” Others have expressed a desire to have opportunities to grow in faith, through spiritual retreats to discern their vocation and through community experiences to help people in need. “We have listened to your request for help in ongoing formation and we assure you to include your desire in our pastoral planning”.

You are important

Three reference examples for young people follow: Mary’s “yes”, the example of Carlo Acutis and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. The latter is a young girl, daughter in a family of an indigenous population, i mohawks, which, although marked by progressive blindness, has drawn attention for its service to the poor and the depth of faith. She died of tuberculosis in 1680, she was canonized in 2012.

The text closes with three well-argued statements: «You are important to us». “You are important to your family and friends.” “You are important to the world.” “Let us walk together, sustained by the strength, courage and hope of Jesus Christ”.

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