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Catholic youth ministers meet near Rome to prepare for WYD 2027

The International Congress on Youth Ministry, organised by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life, is taking place near Rome at a crossroads between World Youth Day in Lisbon 2023 and the next WYD in Seoul in 2027.

By Sr. Francine-Marie Cooper, ISSM

Around 300 participants from 110 countries around the world are meeting in Ciampino, near Rome, on May 23-25, to reflect together on the theme “For a synodal youth ministry: new leadership styles and strategies”.

Young people are the main agents of renewal

In his address at the beginning of the Congress, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, welcomed the participants and invited them to look at what was (WYD Lisbon 2023), what is (the 5th anniversary of Christus vivit and the preparation for the Youth Jubilee 2025), and what will be (WYD Seoul 2027).

Referring to Christus vivit, the Cardinal reminded those gathered that the Church’s youth ministers are called to renew themselves in a synodal style by being open to the Holy Spirit.

“It is precisely young people who can be the main agents of renewal so that the Church can ‘unblock’ itself and become young again,” he said.

“Give yourselves over to the best of life! Open the door of the cage, go out and fly! Please, don’t take early retirement.”

“So, let us be open to young people,” Cardinal Farrell concluded, “and also open to the future with hope! A great task is entrusted to them.”

He ended with the words of Pope Francis: ‘Dear young people, make the most of these years of your youth. Don’t observe life from a balcony. […] Give yourselves over to the best of life! Open the door of the cage, go out and fly! Please, don’t take early retirement’. I wish you all the best in your journey together.”

WYD 2023, Youth Jubilee 2025, and WYD 2027

The first day of the meeting included statements from the organizers of three important international youth events: WYD Lisbon, Jubilee of Youth 2025, and WYD 2027.

Cardinal Américo Manuel Alves Aguiar, Bishop of Setúbal, Portugal, greeted the participants, expressing thanks for all the gratitude received during the preparation and development of WYD Lisbon 2023.

“We did everything and gave everything to bring about a meeting of young people from all over the world. A meeting among themselves, a meeting with Pope Francis, but above all a meeting with the living Christ,” he said.

The morning session continued with an address by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization, who presented the Jubilee of Youth 2025.

The afternoon featured a presentation by the Local Organising Committee (COL) of WYD Seoul 2027, with a presentation led by Archbishop Peter Chung Soon-taick, Archbishop of Seoul. Holy Mass presided over by Cardinal Aguiar closed the first day of the Congress.

The second day of the Congress sees the participants divide into sharing groups in accordance with the synodal discernment method.

The Congress will conclude on Saturday, May 25, with an audience with Pope Francis in the morning and an open dialogue with Sr. Nathalie Becquart, XMCJ, Under-Secretary for the General Secretariat of the Synod, in the afternoon.

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