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Interview to the members of the Marist Youth Commission (MYC)



Ulises Centeno, Province of México Central

07/09/2013: Mexico

We offer you an interview with Ulises Centeno, a lay Marist from the Province of Central Mexico, who works as a teacher in our school of Irapuato. He also works for the Province as a member of the Education Ministry Team, and as the coordinator of Marist Youth Ministry. He belongs to the Marist Evangelization Subcommittee for the Americas, and is a member of the MYC since 2011.

What peculiar traits distinguish young people in your area today?

The American continent is very large, rich, complex, and includes many situations regarding young people. However, according to my own experience I would underline attitudes such as joyfulness, enthusiasm for the future, concern for Mother Earth, openness to solidarity, love of technology and connectedness.

Despite efforts, there are still many situations of exclusion, lack of opportunity, and vulnerability preventing our young people from going to school, fully developing themselves, and finding a good-paying job.

How is Marist Youth Ministry (MYM) organized in the administrative units of your region?

It depends on each Province. In most of them there is a Youth Ministry Coordinator; some are moving forward by means of a MYM Commission; and still others include MYM within their Evangelization structures.

Basically MYM includes organized youth groups, with intentional experiences, and well written processes. In some provinces MYM goes from preschool to high school, and is moving towards college groups. There are also opportunities to qualify MYM agents such as diploma courses, training programs, and camps.

There is an ongoing reflection process regarding the new scenarios of MYM within social Marist works, and in situations of poverty and vulnerability.

How was the document Evangelizers in the Midst of Youth (EMY) received by young people and MYM leaders?

It was well received as an institutional reference document, and was motivating especially for those who had no prior contact with Church documents on evangelization and youth ministry. It helped consolidate pastoral processes, reassess our work among young people, and moved us to dream together with them.

In August 2012, the Marist Evangelization Subcommittee for the Americas organized the Inter-American Evangelizers in the Midst of Youth Meeting for Brothers, lay Marists and young people from ten provinces and two districts, which took place in Campinas, Brazil. It was aimed at celebrating the MYM process in the Americas, and at analyzing both the current situation of children and young people throughout the Continent and our mission of evangelizing them. During the course of the meeting, the participants presented the situation of young people in their Provinces, shared about the strengths, challenges and dreams of MYM, and looked together towards new perspectives and horizons of MYM in the Americas.

Apropos the publication of the EMY document, and with the intention of strengthening MYM in the Americas – in coincidence with the International Marist Youth Meeting and the WYD – we have launched a Youth Marist Year in America under the motto, “Young people, God’s young face”.

In your opinion, what are the main challenges and proposals in working with young people today?

In our dialogue with young people and MYM coordinators in the Provinces, we have agreed on two main challenges. The first has to do with research, training and animation regarding a number of topics: experience of God, evangelization, the situation of childhood and youth, especially those in vulnerability conditions, the vocational dimension, volunteering, and a research observatory overseeing and mapping the situation of young people. And the second regards the development of a new perspective allowing us to articulate and reformulate evangelization as the center and priority of all our ministries.

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