“Along with the young people we can boldly embrace the dream of God and blaze trails towards a joyful, generous and transforming participation, for the Church and for humanity”.
(Homily of His Holiness, Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon, 2 August 2023)
Now that the XXXVII World Youth Day has just concluded, I want to talk to you about the importance and urgency of working with and for young people. They bring us all their energy and creativity; they help us to be in closer contact with the world and infect us with their joy and enthusiasm. (It is enough to see the hundreds of videos that were circulated on this occasion). We, WUCWO women, can go to their encounter and help them discover the Lord in a world so polarized, violent, unfair and devoid of faith.
I was very moved when, at the Assembly in Assisi, one of the young women that participated shared with us, with tears in her eyes, that she had lost hope and that she had recovered it at the Assembly. ¡How many young women like her are waiting for us, in need of receiving the joyful message of the Gospel and approach Jesus and Mary with trust!
Let us remember that one of the resolutions adopted in our past Assembly was to set out, with renewed conviction, on the joyful path of family love, motherhood and fatherhood promoting programs that:
• support the development of young people to help them discover the vocation and joy of marriage and of motherhood and fatherhood as a lifetime commitment; and
• accompany matrimonies at different stages of preparation for marriage and married life and encourage families to become examples of fraternity and places of hope for people in need.
Clearly, the best way to comply with this resolution is to reach out and open the arms of our organizations to young people, particularly young women. But we know that this is not always easy. To embrace them implies to be open to change; to be willing to put aside the barriers that, occasionally, we, older women, can put when it seems difficult to leave old habits. It also entails to be ready to comprehend new generations and leave behind monotony, to develop with creativity programs that can be attractive for them and formation schemes flexible enough to adapt to the new generations of women that also work outside their home; it means using new information technology and social networks…
As Pope Francis said, “Young people are the future. Yet they encounter much that is disheartening: lack of jobs, the dizzying pace of contemporary life, hikes in the cost of living, the difficulty of finding housing and, even more disturbing, the fear of forming families and bringing children into the world… Political life is challenged once more to see itself as a generator of life and concern for others. It is called to show foresight by investing in the future, in families and in children and by promoting intergenerational covenants that do not cancel the past but forge bonds between young and old.” (Meeting of His Holiness with the Authorities, Civil Society and the Diplomatic Corps. Cultural Centre of Belém, Lisbon, Wednesday, 2 August 2023).
We need to reinforce the intergenerational dialogue and WUCWO has to redouble efforts. The Holy Father mentioned this at the recent III World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. Both Days have as their theme Mary’s hurry to visit Isabel and lead us to reflect on the on the relationship between them and the younger generations.
On the eve of the celebration of the Assumption of Mary, I invite you to get up and go, without delay, to the encounter of young people, particularly those vulnerable and disoriented women that are waiting for us in a world that sometimes seems to fall apart. Let us get closer and invite them to our organizations. Let us pray and work for and with our young people, in a synodal way, in order to build together the better and more fraternal world for which we all aspire.
WUCWO President General