The Barnabites and young people after Covid

To the Barnabite brothers.

The 125th anniversary of the canonization of St. Antonio Maria Zaccaria, thanks to the teaching of some of our illustrious fathers, introduced us to the living heart of our Founder to learn how to become witnesses of Christ here and now, not in the 16th century!

Together with a cultural and spiritual preparation we have tried to reach you in order to reflect on young people, because they are our future. Unfortunately, very few of you have given answers: too busy or too disinterested in thinking about your own pastoral service to young people? Maybe afraid of thinking, praying and proposing at the same time?

The service for young people should still be the way to characterize our being Barnabite priests, and yet there is a lack of shared reflection that must make us think.

The Covid pandemic has touched all of our realities as it had never happened in the past: we must look together for answers and new paths as never before, because we cannot simply start from where we stopped.

Certainly it is not possible to find new answers and paths in just two years, but they can be searched, investigated, proposed. Also because, as you highlighted in your replies, Covid has actually caused damages: fear, isolation, little trust in adults, greater use of smartphones, relationship fatigue. The almost complete recovery of daily activities has left many … at home and others – especially teenagers – with a bitter taste in their mouth. In Europe, in addition, the situation of the war in Ukraine is continuing this drama.

With regard to the denunciation of the Archbishop of Milan, Mario Del Pini: “Young people no longer perceive the Church as an interlocutor for their questions, the Church experiences this as a defeat: we have lost a bet.”; but also to the hope of the Archbishop of Hong Kong, Stephen Chow: “There is a need for a vision. And there is a need to understand the present and the context. Don’t look at the walls, look at the future. »: We cannot act alone.

Starting from these assumptions: defeat and vision, we want to try to let ourselves be moved by the Zaccharian vigor of the beginning which, despite the short life of the Founder, was not in vain: moving with continuity on the path that the vocation of each of us is called to live. The confreres who responded highlighted the need of young people to be listened to, to be taken with attention and seriousness; I wonder: how do we listen to young people? From the Philippines to Brazil, everyone is asking to enhance a renewed missionary style.

This new missionary style is recognized as typical of our charism, but it must be thought and rethought and prayed together, with a synodal spirit and method that becomes a life testimony, especially because our forces have decreased.

Perhaps we should think more about the two words: defeat and vision, and in this we should be helped by the defeats and visions of our Antonio Maria and his first collaborators. This is also the line indicated by the recent Synod of Youth, which is not archived.

Thanks to Fathers Giovanni Giovenzana from Eupilio, Giorgio Viganò from Cremona, Giuseppe di Nardo from Bari, Michael Sandalo from Silangan, Junior Cavalcante from Belem, Ferdinand Mushagalusa from Moucron and Carlo Giove from Naples, Pascal Balumebaciza Pilipili from Buenos Aires.

p. Fabien M. Muvuny,

p. Giannicola M. Simone, Youth Ministry Office of the Barnabite Fathers. May 27, 2022

Largest youth population all over the world

To the brilliance of Altar: A Call to priesthood among the Indian youth.

By Benson and Johness, Bibin and Sebin, youth Barnabite seminariest in Bengalure – India, some reflection about youth in this special country.

The term India has the Greek root ‘indos’ which recalls the most important river Sindhu / Indus of the subcontinent, the 7th largest nation. Later from the medieval period, the term Hindustan came into prevalence. India takes pride as one of the earliest histories, civilizations and spiritual traditions who gave shelter to the refugees and the imperial powers from Greeks to the English. Indians are Hindus by culture, convivial by nature, diverse in faith and belief, opulent in traditions, rich in linguistic diversity but unity among all and eulogise “vasudhaiva kudumbakam.” (Benson and Johness)

With this beauty of embracing ‘world as one family’ we must learn the veracity of youth in India. As UN report states, India acquires the largest youth population all over the world, even though India is less populated than China. The young are the future, for they are creative innovators, leaders and builders of India, and she always depends upon her youth for a radical change. The whole world looks at Indian youth as a source and culmination of technical brightness, constructive manpower, but misconceived that Indian youth’s talents and abilities can be bought at low costs for the great future of the world rest. The main set back of Indian youth is the optimistic attitude towards situations, politics, religion and affluent in unity and spirit amidst of diverse culture and ethnic aptitude. Indian youth have the power to lift our country from a developing nation to a developed nation. (Bibin k. Mathew)

“Truth is in thy heart. Truth lies in you, in your heart”- St. Augustine of Hippo. This same truth was haunted by M.K. Gandhi, the father of nation (India) to be successful and faithful to his mission. The technological outburst made India a guinea pig of Technopoly, breeding cyborgs, and netizens year after year. Amidst of these igeneration mania, as well as a paradigm shift from information to me-formation the land of sages and seers witnessed the presence of Jesus and heeded to his call as the labourers of his field- plentiful of harvest. The number of ordinations to priesthood that only conferred in the eastern church of Syro- Malabar was around 358 and many more in the Latin Dioceses in 2016. Amidst of the heaviness of gadgets and gadget mania Indian youth equate themselves with the desire of his holiness pope Francis that “I wish to have saints who use internet, saints who use mobile phones and latest applications, but sin”. Indian youth especially catholic youth are pretty sure about the necessity of God in their lives amidst of all possessions and possessiveness lured by the world albeit of new historicism. The religious education and training they acquired can generate God fear and commitment to the society therefore saving their souls by saving other’s for Christ. The Indian youth witnessed God experience in others saying “Aham Brahmasmi” (God resides in me) and “Tatwamasi” (thou art that). (Sebin Varghese)