21 July 2022
Where are we with the International Youth Advisory Body?
Almost three years after its establishment, the entity created after the Synod on Youth is preparing for its next meeting in Portugal
In November 2019, the International Youth Advisory Body was established. It was created to carry out a specific request of the Final Document of the 2018 Synod, which called for the creation of such a body to enhance the activities of the Youth Office of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life (see No. 123). A group of 20 young people from different regions of the world was appointed to begin the activities.
Youth as key players in proclaiming the Gospel
The first meeting in presence was scheduled for April 2020. However, due to the pandemic, it was not possible to hold it in this way, so it was deemed necessary that new methods to continue working be found. Therefore, the group began to meet online. Card. Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life attended the first of these meetings. Since then, the young people have met online every two months for some moments to share experiences, prayer, fraternity and in order to develop various projects.
The first in-presence meeting took place in October 2021, when the youth went to the Vatican for the opening of the Synod on Synodality. It was a very special moment to hear the appeals of the Church and, at the same time, to make a contribution to the synod process through their testimonies, because they are young people involved in the activities of their own particular Churches or participating in international movements, associations and communities.
In this way, the International Youth Advisory Body offers a wholly unique contribution to the Church: the leadership of young people in proclaiming the Gospel. The next in-presence meeting will take place in October this year, in Portugal, at the preparatory meeting for the WYD Lisbon 2023.
Among the many fine results produced by the creation of the Body, we can say that that most special was how, in such a short time, young people were able - in the face of cultural diversity, different ways of living spirituality, different languages and even the challenge of time zones - to find an opportunity to experience the power of unity. Created to deal with serious issues, it also became a group of friends: young people who think differently on some things but share the same ideals.
A sign of hope
The International Youth Advisory Body is aware that it will not find an answer to all the challenges that the Church has in the area of youth evangelization. However, it wants to be a hopeful sign that the novelty of this group may awaken the courage to collaborate with the dynamism of evangelizing action in young people. Whereas, through the laity, it hopes to spread the importance of accompanying the youth on the road to an encounter with God, and at the same time, among the clergy, the need to concretize the preferential option for youth as a pastoral priority.
The young face of God!
The International Youth Advisory Body is of service through its members, in parishes, at work, in universities, in their families or in the most diverse sectors of society, and seeks to be the young face of God.