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The young show us the face of God

 

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Formation Meeting for Agents of Youth Ministry

14/10/2012: Mexico

"(Young people) reveal to us the face of God through their dreams and utopian visions, their trials and achievements. As disciples and missionaries, as we walk by their side we want to go in haste to join up with those feeling most forlorn from the consequences of poverty, injustice, and an absence of ideals able to bring them a brighter tomorrow. We recognize that the heart of every teenager and young person in our world is a « new land » for us" (Evangelizers in the midst of youth, 233).

With this phrase was launched the Formation Meeting for Agents of Youth Ministry, which is intended to inaugurate in the Province of México Central the Marist Year of Youth of the Americas, and offer elements of basic formation for the  pastoral work carried out by young people in each of the works. The participants gradually integrated themselves into the process and, after the presentation, the ambiance was ideal for beginning the week’s work.

We began by reflecting and sharing on the basic elements of Marist Youth Ministry. Br Rodrigo Espinosa invited us to incarnate the Presence, Simplicity, Humility,  Modesty, Love of work and Family spirit in the manner of Mary.

In front of the participants was the MYM symbol, a large cross of multi-coloured ribbons… There was an explanation of where the idea of celebrating the Marist Youth Year came from. The document Evangelizers in the midst of youth was laid next to the cross. At the end of the presentation the youth placed under the protection of Jesus, Mary and Champagnat this period so that they could bless the creativity, presence and attention to children, adolescents and young people with whom we share life and mission, at the same time as we joyfully intone : « Youth, raise your hands… »

Several young people from the « University Centre of  Mexico » invited us to dream and hope, to review our lives and the passage of God through each, to take a ribbon and write down the names of persons who have especially marked our lives and who have encouraged and accompanied us to continue our journey in the light of the Gospel. These names were now united to the cross, which as a sign of life, was filled with colours and accompanied the pilgrimage into the Meeting House. Each was responsible for it for a few  instants in the silence of the night. We left our hands imprinted on it and shared the word : 5 loaves and 2 fish, and there was enough for all !

On Saturday, the youth who had taken part in the Buitrago Meeting – BELIVIN 2011 as delegates animated the morning prayer. A tree and some pebbles reminded us of the origins of our Institute : « Like Father Champagnat, we place all our confidence in the Lord: ‘If the Lord does not build the house’… Notwithstanding, simultaneously we place the best of ourselves and the resources at our disposal at the  service of the mission »(Evangelizers in the midst of youth, 139).

The sharing of the dimension of Youth Ministry in link with vocation was very significant. Omar Iván Chacón and Br Javier Peña animated this period, when we reflected on the choice each young person makes throughout life, placing the accent on the way this choice strengthens our work in the group. At the same time, the participants were invited to a process of accompaniment and search for vocation. The last subject shared by all the agents was the journey of the Disciples of Emmaus.

We spent some time on knowing and exchanging on the subject of organisation, the lexicon, and the activities of the « Amigos en Marcha » and « Ciudad Nueva ».  The youth accompanying the groups of « Preparatoria » (16-18 years) took part in an exercise of collective construction of the Agent of Youth Ministry, person, values and dimensions (human and spiritual).

By way of closure of this period of formation, in the Eucharist we offered the Cross, the tree and the flags with the symbol of the Marist Year of Youth… to better animate this Year which unites us as Marists, with the youthful face of God.

_____________
Prof. Ulises Centeno
Provincial Co-ordinator of Youth Ministry

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