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Youth, You Are the Rock! Build the Church by Witnessing Your Faith!

“You Are the Rock!” (Mat 16:18) is the theme the of weekend gathering of Mongo Catholic Youth, (21st-23rd July 2017). This gathering was to conclude the youth activities during the last academic year, as part of their own formation before enjoying their long holiday time. As a young generation, through the meeting the Catholic Youth’s were helped to realise, appreciate and develop more their typical potential such as freedom, creativity, innovation, openness, talents and so on, which are needed for the Church and society. With their potential the youth have the opportunity to take up the important role of transformation, both in the Church and in society. It can be said that today, the world is in the hands of the youth, as Pope Francis said to them, “You are the future of the Church!” Therefore, whether they like it or not, it demands them to open their mind to accept the challenges. Nowadays the youths are fortunate because they live in the information technology era.  They easily find out a lot of information which challenges their lives. This era demands the youth to become  persons who are open and able to contribute actively to improve the environment.

As an inspiration, the youth of Mongo picked the example of St Peter, the Rock, a simple and hard-working person, generous, honest, genuine and very close to Jesus. Though he had his own limitations, he grew in openness and nourished his potential in order to be a leader and foundation of the Church. With the help of two documents of Pope Francis (Meeting with the Young People, Address of His Holiness Pope Francis in Nairobi, 27 November 2015 and Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the 32nd World Youth Day 2017), the youth developed their reflection in their own local context. Through reflection and sharing during the meeting, the youth tried to discern their own situation and the situation of the youth in general, the challenges both inside and outside themselves, inside the church and outside, too. Through reflection and sharing together, the youths could help and encourage each other to build the Church by witnessing their faith. They acknowledge the obstacles and challenges, but at the same time are confident to contribute by their potential to the welfare of the Church.

Though the meeting was short enough, the youths were really happy to have an experience of formation through the meeting. The presence of youths from other villages gave more colour and experience. At the end of the meeting all expressed their gratitude and hope, that this kind of formation meeting be organised annually, if possible even more frequently and for a longer time. What is more encouraging is that they expressed the desire to change and do better. Surely it will not be easy. To promise is not the same as putting it into practice. Some even may wonder or be afraid that, after the meeting, all will just be the same as before. That is why each one asked for the prayer of their fellow youths. Yes, by helping and supporting each other, we hope that the youths of Mongo will grow day after day and always be ready to witness their faith in the Church and in society. We appreciate and are  proud of you, friends! Carry on!

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