Fr. Miguel Ángel García

The World Youth Day as a synodal experience of Church renovation

Interrupting the life of a city is always an extraordinary act. Filling the roads with young people from the four corners of the world is a moving memory. A World Youth Day is that and much more.

Organizing a World Youth Day really requires millions of hours of work to make all kinds of resources available to youngsters. If it will produce spiritual fruits in proportion to the effort, it will be worth it, all for an educational, communicative, evangelizing reason: the objective of an event like this is to introduce Jesus Christ to so many young people and make them realize that following Him is a safe path to find happiness.

It is to youngsters that we must look with particular predilection in these days and discover the secret of a surprising phenomenon: in the world of young people a “silent revolution” is being born, which has the World Youth Days as its main stage. Youngsters who raise questions among Christians and are not afraid to show themselves as such, youngsters who do not want to be intimidated or deceived, youngsters who have the enthusiasm and the passion that is needed to bring about a change.

These encounters continue to amaze people, both inside and outside the Church. And they are like a portrait of a youth, very different from the one that many propose, eager for values, in search of the deepest meaning of life, with a desire for a world different from the one they find.

Today, a significant percentage of World Youth Day participants come from very different family, social and cultural backgrounds. Many of the young pilgrims no longer have Christianity as the main reference in their social context. In that sense, life for many becomes similar to surfing: they cannot pretend to change waves, but have to adapt to the wave in order to know how to guide the board in the right direction. These radiant members of the Church wake up each day with the desire to be better followers of Jesus in the midst of family, friends and acquaintances.

Youngsters have the ability to give the best of themselves, but they need to know that this task is achievable, they need the complicity of adults, they must believe that this struggle is not sterile or destined to fail. For this reason, WYD are a way for youngsters to experience synodality, the style that characterizes life and the mission of the Church. The fact that they belong to their local community implies that they belong to a much larger and universal community. A community in which it is necessary to “take the reins of the world”, young and not so young.

...WYD are a way for youngsters to experience synodality

For this, it is necessary to cultivate some attitudes towards this new synodal spirituality. World Youth Day allows:

– to share the little stories of each one, experiencing the courage to speak freely and bring to the table deep conversations that are born from within;

– learn to grow with others and appreciate the fact that we too enrich each other, even if at different “speeds” (styles, ages, visions, cultures, gifts, charisms and ministries in the Church);

– taking care of “common green spaces” for our relationship with God, frequenting our relationship with the source of life, with the One who takes care of us, rooting our trust and our hopes in Him, unloading our concerns in Him, in order to be able to “take the reins” of the mission that He left in our hands;

– accept and embrace one’s own fragility which is linked to the fragility of our world and mother earth;

– to be a voice that joins many others to denounce the excesses that are committed against the life of our Planet and commit to common actions that contribute to the birth of a more responsible and ecological citizenship;

-to reorient pastoral processes together in a more open and inclusive perspective, which makes us capable of “going out to meet” all youngsters in the place where they are, making visible and real the desire to be an “outgoing Church” that approaches believers and non-believers alike, and becomes a traveling companion for those who so desire or need.


...WYD allows accept and embrace one's own fragility which is linked to the fragility of our world and mother earth

In short words, a synodal Church that favors a change of heart and mind that allows us to face our mission in the WAY OF JESUS. An invitation to feel in us the touch, the look of Jesus who always renews us.

  • Fr. Miguel Ángel GarcíaCounsellor for Youth Ministry

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