KARASZEWSKI: Christus Vivit -- Was it written for me?

June 11, 2019

Christus Vivit!, or Christ is Alive! is the post-Synodal apostolic exhortation written by Pope Francis to youth and young adults and the entire people of God as a result of a three-year process of listening to young people around the globe.

The “synod” or “journeying together” is a process that did not end with the Synod this past October but should continue in our parishes and our lives as “we need to make all our institutions better equipped to be more welcoming to young people…” (CV#216), as the document writes.

Certainly the accompaniment of youth and young adults is not the task solely of a youth/young adult minister but of the entire community. 

Certainly the accompaniment of youth and young adults is not the task solely of a youth/young adult minister but of the entire community. 

Certainly the accompaniment of youth and young adults is not the task solely of a youth/young adult minister but of the entire community. 

“The community has an important role in the accompaniment of young people; it should feel collectively responsible for accepting, motivating, encouraging and challenging them,” the document says (CV #243) “All should regard young people with understanding, appreciation and affection, and avoid constantly judging them or demanding of them a perfection beyond their years.”

Hence, I would like to invite you to read the entire document at the Vatican website and/or attend a workshop here in Houston that will unpack it on Aug. 5. For more information on the workshop visit www.archgh.org/yacm.

As an adult, these 10 paragraphs are the ones that challenge me the most:

#38: ...Those of us who are no longer young need to find ways of keeping close to the voices and concerns of young people. “Drawing together creates the conditions for the Church to become a place of dialogue and a witness to life-giving fraternity.” We need to make more room for the voices of young people to be heard: “listening makes possible an exchange of gifts in a context of empathy… At the same time, it sets the conditions for a preaching of the Gospel that can touch the heart truly, decisively and fruitfully.”

#41: ...To be credible to young people, there are times when [the Church] needs to regain her humility and simply listen, recognizing that what others have to say can provide some light to help her better understand the Gospel. A Church always on the defensive, which loses her humility and stops listening to others, which leaves no room for questions, loses her youth and turns into a museum. How, then, will she be able to respond to the dreams of young people? Even if she possesses the truth of the Gospel, this does not mean that she has completely understood it; rather, she is called to keep growing in her grasp of that inexhaustible treasure.

#67 ...Each young person’s heart should thus be considered “holy ground,” a bearer of seeds of divine life, before which we must “take off our shoes” in order to draw near and enter more deeply into the Mystery.

#93: ...The stories of migrants are also stories of encounter between individuals and between cultures. For the communities and societies to which they come, migrants bring an opportunity for enrichment and the integral human development of all. Initiatives of welcome involving the Church have an important role from this perspective; they can bring new life to the communities capable of undertaking them.

#156: ...“Christianity is not a collection of truths to be believed, rules to be followed, or prohibitions. Seen that way, it puts us off. Christianity is a person who loved me immensely, who demands and claims my love. Christianity is Christ”
#199: ...If we journey together, young and old, we can be firmly rooted in the present, and from here, revisit the past and look to the future. To revisit the past in order to learn from history and heal old wounds that at times still trouble us. To look to the future in order to nourish our enthusiasm, cause dreams to emerge, awaken prophecies and enable hope to blossom. Together, we can learn from one another, warm hearts, inspire minds with the light of the Gospel, and lend new strength to our hands.

#230: ...In addition to the ordinary, well-planned pastoral ministry that parishes and movements carry out, it is also important to allow room for a “popular” youth ministry, with a different style, schedule, pace and method. Broader and more flexible, it goes out to those places where real young people are active, and fosters the natural leadership qualities and the charisms sown by the Holy Spirit. It tries to avoid imposing obstacles, rules, controls and obligatory structures on these young believers who are natural leaders in their neighborhoods and in other settings. We need only to accompany and encourage them, trusting a little more in the genius of the Holy Spirit, who acts as he wills.

#234: ... The Synod called for the development of a youth ministry capable of being inclusive, with room for all kinds of young people, to show that we are a Church with open doors...

#286 “So often in life, we waste time asking ourselves: ‘Who am I?’ You can keep asking, ‘Who am I?’ for the rest of your lives. But the real question is: ‘For whom am I?” Of course, you are for God. But he has decided that you should also be for others, and He has given you many qualities, inclinations, gifts and charisms that are not for you, but to share with those around you.

#299 [Young people] may the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us.”

Gabriela Karaszewski is the director of the Archdiocesan Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry.