On Oct. 1, the Diocese of Montreal sponsored a training day to examine Christus Vivit. Organized by Pascale Haddad, Director of the Office for Faith Education, the session introduced parish catechists to Pope Francis’s 2018 post-synodal apostolic exhortation on youth, published in 2018.
Around the tables at Marie-Reine-des-Cœurs Sanctuary, conversations were flowing. Under the direction of Isabel Correa, director of Youth Ministry (Mission Jeunesse), everyone called to work with young people in their respective communities set out on a deep reflection inspired by Christus Vivit and were able to look into the chapters’ various themes to try to figure out concretely the needs expressed by young people.
Christus Vivit, “What’s that?”
From the Synod on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment held in October 2018 came a nine chapter 299-page exhortation written by Pope Francis to address the youth, but also the young at hearts accompanying them. This exhortation rests on four main messages: God loves you, Jesus Christ saves us, Christ is alive, and Christ wishes for you to be alive. The goal of this training day held in Montreal was to help participants get immersed into a discussion on the chapters, so that concrete ideas could emerge. In the room, a first question was raised: “Who are our young people?” Isabel Correa took the time to draw a realistic and nuanced portrait of all young people in the Church of Montreal and of Canada, reminding the assembly that “there is no such thing as one youth, but many youths.”
A Forum After the Synod
As an introduction on this training day, what better than inviting young people to share their experiences and aspirations for today and tomorrow’s Church? Kathleen Diaz, a Human Relations student from Concordia University, and Julian Paparella, a Theology student from the Institut catholique de Paris, shared their testimonies following their participation to the June 2019 Youth Forum held in the Vatican. The goal of this gathering in Rome was to find the means to live concretely the realities expressed in Christus Vivit. Under the theme “Young in action in a synodal Church,” Kathleen and Julian, and about 350 other young people, thought about ways for implementation in Canada and elsewhere.
Kathleen spoke about “how to bring Christus Vivit into the world,” where she lives.
“This is a call to start where we are, by taking concrete actions which will result in the great goal of having a living Church that gathers the youth and the elder,” she said. For this young lady, Christus Vivit furthers the discussion on the youth, faith and vocational discernment, here in Canada and in Montreal.
She recalled how Jesus was an inspiration for everyone in his youth. He “did not wait to take action in his community.” “Let us gain and waste some time with young people,” Julien added saying that one must never be discouraged and accompany, like Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Isabel Correa went on suggesting to all participants to ask themselves how they felt: “paralyzed, ignorant, tired?” She then turned to the Christ and asked for His grace. Yes, our Church in on the path, and Christ wishes us to be fully alive!
For more information on the Synod on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment
For an overview on Christus Vivit