05 June 2019
Ad limina visits
On careful and creative youth pastoral care
The ad limina visit of the Bishops from the Philippines to the Dicastery has been completed
In the year in which the Philippine Church has put youth pastoral care as the main item on its agenda – a step along the nine year path begun in 2013 and ending in 2021 with the celebrations for the 500th Anniversary of the evangelization of the Islands - it is not surprising that some of the bishops on an ad limina visit to Rome, wanted to touch on the question of young people by meeting the top management of our Dicastery. While recognizing the dynamism and great devotion of their young people, the Bishops expressed their concern about the negative impact that secularization is having on them. For example, they reported an increase in the trend of cohabitation among minors and early pregnancies among adolescents that often ended in abortion. According to the Bishops, this problem depends on the gap between the traditional Philippine values and the teaching of the Church on the one hand and the current youth culture on the other. Making a realistic analysis of the situation, the Bishops recognized that it is not, perhaps, the young who have abandoned the Church but the Church that has abdicated from its evangelizing mission faced with the challenge of renewal launched by the young generation. In fact, despite reassuring adults, young people can be rather demanding and difficult. Hence, the intention to engage in a more creative and careful youth pastoral care, made to measure for all and every young person, more up-to-date in its language and methods and focussed on training to encourage an encounter with the person of Christ.
The Bishops also discussed the matter of the lay movements and new communities, praising their generous contribution to evangelizing activities. In the specific context of family pastoral care, the Bishops recalled the widespread efforts made by Couples for Christ, a movement which began in The Philippines and today present throughout the world in order to implement Amoris Laetitia. However, they also pointed out the need to work for an improved integration of these movements in the diocesan body. For this purpose, they felt it would be useful to establish periodic and constant dialogue between their leaders and the Bishops in order to accompany these associations and share with them the pastoral priorities of the entire ecclesial community. In fact, it was highlighted that the many charisms exist for the edification of the single body of Christ that is the Church and that it is a Bishop’s role to guide and guarantee the unity of the entire ecclesial community.
As regards family pastoral care, it was specified that also in The Philippines, the family is threatened today by several factors, from extreme poverty to emigration, from the laws against the family and life to the lack of training and accompaniment. As an answer to this, nearly all the parishes now offer marriage preparation courses and likewise share the awareness of the need to accompany couples during their married life. On this front, the Dicastery said it was most willing to cooperate with the Philippine Church to help it finalize its training programmes if the need for this was felt.