This week marks a momentous occasion within the life of the Church as our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has released his post-synodal apostolic exhortation on young people, Christus Vivit. This exhortation, focusing primarily on ministry with high school students, college students, and young professionals, is both exciting and challenging as Pope Francis invites young people to dream boldly and urges the leadership of the Church, ordained and lay alike, to respond with urgency and fervor. We would encourage each of you to take a moment, print a copy of the exhortation, read it, and then pray with it. The document can be viewed on the Vatican website.
Jason Deuterman, Director of the Office of Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministries, said of this new document, "Though the OYYACM is charged with the specific task of supporting ministry leaders who work directly with young people and young adults, the call to serve the young Church belongs to all of us. Whether you realize it or not, we are all youth ministers to some degree. We are youth ministers because each of us is charged with living out the joy of the Risen Christ, and it is in sharing that message of hope through our example that all young people, Catholic or not, will see the authenticity of the Church and be drawn to it — drawn to a life that they otherwise might not have known."
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and President of the USCCB, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R, of Newark, chairman of the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., of Philadelphia, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, have issued the following joint statement on the release of Christus Vivit.
Full statement follows:
“The Church of the United States welcomes this teaching from Pope Francis as the fruit of the synodal journey in which we walked with and listened to young people. This exhortation is a wonderful summons to the whole Church to more vigorously invest in youth and young adults, especially those on the peripheries and those who are disconnected from the Church.
We encourage all Catholic leaders to read and study this exhortation and the pertinent documents of the Synod. They provide for us a framework from which we can build upon in our dioceses, parishes, and communities.
Now more than ever, we must turn our attention to our young people and engage them as ‘protagonists’ of the Church’s mission. Their insights can help us grow as a Church and guide us as we all learn to become better missionary disciples in an intercultural and intergenerational context. We look forward to what comes next, in collaboration with Catholic ministry leaders already working alongside young people. We look forward to the journey ahead, and pray with St. John Paul II, a patron of young people whose passing we remember today, for the Church’s ongoing mission to all generations.
The post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Christus Vivit, is a significant milestone of the synodal process begun by Pope Francis in 2016. After two years of consultation by episcopal conferences, movements, and Catholic organizations, along with a worldwide online survey and a Pre-Synod Meeting with young adults in March 2018, the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops met in October 2018 on the theme ‘Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.’ Bishops, clergy, religious, and lay people, including a number of young people, together with Pope Francis, addressed the challenges facing younger generations today and ways in which the Church can best respond. Now the work of the Holy Spirit, manifest in the sessions of the Synod, will bear fruit in the dioceses of the United States.”