Global Plan of the General Council 2019-2025
I ask you to be revolutionaries, to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes that you are incapable of responsibility, that you are incapable of true love (Pope Francis, World Youth Day, Rio de Janeiro, 2013).
You are not the ‘tomorrow’, you are not the ‘meantime’, you are the ‘Now’ of God (Pope Francis, World Youth Day, Panama City 2019).
Young people are both a challenge and a mission of the Church today. “We believe that even today God speaks to the Church and to the world through the young, their creativity and their commitment, as well as their sufferings and their pleas for help… with them we can read our era more prophetically and recognize the signs of the times…”(Synod on Young Final Document, 64). It hardly needs to be said, but young people matter and what they think, speak and do has a huge influence and impact on the Order and the world today.
Much valuable ministry with young people already takes place in the Carmelite Family. Naturally, this takes many forms as it exists in different contexts and cultures. However, the Carmelite Order is particularly well placed for this ministry and our approach to contemplation, community, and of being of service to others – as well as the heroes of our Order (our Saints and Blesseds) – can appeal to many young people.
Our different forms of ministry with young people can broadly be divided into two groups: with those who are of school-going age and with those older young people who have completed their primary and secondary education. Understandably, the needs of these two groups may be different. Some of the ministry with younger people will take place in our Carmelite schools (Con. 102) which remain “essential places for the evangelization of the young” (Christus Vivit, 222). Carmelites recognize that Christian service (especially to the poor), pilgrimages, mission activities, sports, music and the arts can all provide enormous opportunities for young people to grow and discover life in Christ and in the Church.
Carmelites seek always to be flexible in our ministry with young people which involves journeying together in such a way that the charisms that the Holy Spirit has given to each of the Church’s members are respected. We must acknowledge that “young people themselves are agents of youth ministry” (Christus Vivit, 203) and Carmelites will avoid assigning a passive role to the young. We too must be humble enough to listen to them and even be open to be questioned by them. We will seek to make all our ministries more welcoming to young people and inclusive (Con. 30).
Whatever the context, Carmelites acknowledge that young people do not need to be preached at or given a great deal of doctrine. Instead, we seek to always provide opportunities for young people to be drawn into an “encounter with God through Christ’s death and resurrection” (Christus Vivit, 212). Carmelites walk alongside young people as they discern their personal vocation. Our ministries will have a particular emphasis on the Word of God and on learning to see the world as God sees it. Safeguarding will be a vital part of all our Carmelite ministry, especially with young people.
Bearing in mind the great influence young people have today in the world, and mandated by the General Chapter, the Carmelite Youth Commission (CYC) has taken upon itself the mission to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate the enormous wealth of potential young people have today. Arising from our charism, and in meaningful and relevant ways, we seek to accompany, listen and work alongside young people in order to transform the world for the Lord so they can answer the question Pope Francis poses: “For whom am I?” (Francis, Vigil in preparation for World Youth Day, 2017). We aspire to “rediscover and reawaken the Church’s constant freshness and youth, opening ourselves to a new Pentecost” (Synod on Young People, Final Document, 60). We take the Emmaus story of the gospel (cf. Lk 24:13-35) “as paradigmatic for our understanding of the Church’s mission to the young” (Synod on Young People, Final Document, 4). “Jesus walked with them” (Lk 24:15), listening to their stories and talked to them and broke the bread and “their eyes were opened” (Lk 24:31), and “they set out at once” (Lk 24:33). This mission of accompaniment, animation and empowerment can be achieved through collaborative works at different levels in the Order.
- Dialogue with the leadership in the different geographic areas of the Order to become familiar with their youth programs and to identify the specific needs of each area in order to promote and organize events and programs for that geographic area.
- Promote initiatives in each geographic area to form youth animators team for collaborative work.
- Organize workshops, seminars, and training programs for youth animators to empower them for a focused and effective ministry.
- Encourage Carmelite leadership to train young Carmelites spiritually and academically for the present and future youth mission of the Order.
- Collaborate with the Formation Commission to initiate programs and events for young friars in formation to help them develop skills and tools for youth ministry.
- Work for the development of a network of all those who work in youth ministry in the Order.
- In collaboration with the Communication Task Force of the Order search for ways and means of greater collaboration.
- Organize an international program of Carmelite schools and work towards an understanding of the Carmelite charism in education.
- To assist in the facilitation of international events of young people especially at World Youth Days.
- Robert Thomas Puthussery, O.Carm.
- Luca Sciarelli, O.Carm. (Italia)
- Éanna Ó Hóbain, O.Carm. (Ireland)
- Joyson George Pottackal, O.Carm. (India)
- Fransiskus Xaverius Sulistija Heru Prabawa, O.Carm. (Indonesia)
- Iñigo Bermejo Batanero (Lay, Betica)