Personally, I think that the new generations, without distinction of continents or cultural differences, should be the privileged area of the New Evangelization, not simply as passive receivers of it, but as active players in it. John Paul II stated that the young are the best apostles of the young. Their presence and a word from them during the Synod perhaps would have given us a clearer view of the future.
For our part, it is important to become familiar with their world and to make efforts at inculturation in it. To become familiar with their needs, distress, questions, yearnings and hopes and to offer them the Gospel which is always Good News. It is important to use life as the starting point because young people lose interest in the Christian message insofar as it is presented to their intellect as a kind of ideology, imposed upon them by way of authority, or when it is presented deductively starting from principles with no relation to concrete life. Therefore, our principal role is to help each young person to feel loved, valued, blessed and to feel that they are important to and needed by others.
The New Evangelization for the young and for those of us who accompany them should be a call to return to the Gospel and to discover that the central core of our faith is a personal encounter with Jesus Christ which leads to a community of disciples. Our mission for the young is to be companions on the journey, humble guides that help them to discover the path and to find meaning in life. Rather than teachers who teach from above or judges that judge and condemn from outside, we are called to be brothers and sisters who accompany from within. The young are new news for the world, but we need to ask ourselves how to see to it that the Good News of Jesus becomes good news for them. In an era, such as ours, in which the young are searching for something more and are open to spirituality, we should teach them about the encounter with God in their own inner being that will fill their existential void and that will allow them to see reality as Jesus did, be moved by it and then commit themselves to transforming actions.
Br. Álvaro Rodríguez Echeverría, fsc