Secular Franciscan Order

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K O I N Ō N I A
_ ...together on the journey
THE CONFERENCE OF GENERAL SPIRITUAL ASSISTANTS OFS-YOUFRA

 


2019 - 1                                                            Year 26                                                             n. 101

Walking with the young people: a vital challenge for OFS
St. Francis and the youth of today
Fr. Alfred Parambakathu OFMConv.

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General Introduction


The year of 2018 saw the Universal Church living a Synod of Bishops dedicated to the theme “Young People, Faith, and vocational Discernment”, held in Rome from 3 to 28 October. The main purpose of the Synod was, as seen in the Instrumentum laboris (Art.1), to reemphasize the fact that, Taking care of young people is not an optional task for the Church, but an integral part of her mission in history. In just a few words, this is the specific scope of the upcoming Synod: just as our Lord Jesus Christ walked alongside the disciples of Emmaus (cf. Lk 24: 13-35), the Church is also urged to accompany all young people, without exception, towards the joy of love.


In the Final Document of the Synod it is clearly stated that the synodal process is not yet completed, and the implementation phase is yet to come (Art. 3). This is an open invitation for everyone to participate in creating new atmospheres for the young people:


Community experience highlights the qualities and the limits of every person and helps us to recognize humbly that unless we share the gifts we have received for the common good, it is not possible to follow the Lord. This practice continues in the Church today, as the young join groups, movements and associations of various kinds where they experience a warm and welcoming environment and the intensity of relationships that they desire. Joining organizations of this kind is particularly important once the journey of Christian initiation has been completed, because it offers the young an opportunity to bring their Christian vocation to maturity.


Almost an year before the Synod, the XV General Chapter of OFS that took place in the Collegium Seraphicum in Rome on November 4-11, 2017, in its conclusive document, had stated that, “Secular Franciscan fraternities, at all levels, are to seek the most suitable means to foster the vitality and growth of Franciscan Youth within their particular realities, accompanying and animating YouFra.

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