Saturday, June 19, 2021

What is first In Pastoral Work with the Young?


Young people, bodily, mentally are at the peak of their growth and maturity. A priest with a lot of contact with the young in the Kyeongyang magazine gives his ideas of what should be first in pastoral work with the young. The word used in Korea for young people has the meaning of verdant, vigorous, and full of life.

However, nowadays the writer finds these characteristics of the young missing. In the talk about the young often is heard the three dreams they have given up: romance, marriage, and childbirth. This has increased to the abandonment of two more dreams: house and career. And this continues with the sacrifice of hope, hobbies, and relationships and they have added health and appearance. You find this abandonment in the 20s but more so after the 30s.

The church is aging faster than society and those from 35-45 are extremely valuable members of the community. It's a generation that has to inherit the church from the adults who laid the foundation for the Korean Catholic Church, and a generation that has to prove to young people in their 20s and their children that to live as Christians is different from the world and environment of the past.

This age group's Mass attendance is low and those who have left the community are high. But this does not allow us to simply say they have no interest in the faith life. Those that the writer has met still feel a need for  God. The world in which they live is changing so rapidly and in so many ways that they are continuing to search.

The church has to show them a merciful God. We need to listen to them not at the church but where they are and hear what they are doing and understand their situation. Jesus also went to those who were hurting to give them peace.

The first step is to pray for the young people. To understand them, and to make the community of faith a place where they experience the warmth of Christ's presence. We need to make the community a place where the young people feel the strength and consolation of Christ.

He wonders whether the foundational story of our religion is really known by everyone. We need to reflect on this reality in dealing with young people.  

"God will wipe away every tear from their eyes", Rev. 23:3. In this article, the writer hopes God's words will give some rest to the young people doing their best where ever they are.

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