The Cathedral Connection 7 April 2019

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CHRIST IS ALIVE

This week, Pope Francis published his response to last year’s Synod on Youth. It begins with the words ‘Christ is Alive’, in Latin, ‘Christus Vivit’ and that will be the common title of this apostolic exhortation.  Unlike some of Francis’s other teaching documents, this one hasn’t made much of a media splash (the download link is inside this newsletter).

Francis addresses, first, young people, but then all the people of God.  He writes in his usual warm, encouraging, and realistic, style.  Of young people in particular, as well as the difficulties which afflict many, he emphasises their ‘genuine desire to develop their talents in order to offer something to our world. In some, we see a special artistic sensitivity, or a yearning for harmony with nature. In others, perhaps, a great need to communicate. In many of them, we encounter a deep desire to live life differently’ (section 84).

I recalled the courage and leadership of our young people in striking to raise awareness of climate change, three weeks ago, and how his words describe the young people with whom I work most days.

To the church as a whole, he urges that ‘we should not stand apart from others’ even while we try to live up to our ideals, including generosity, service, forgiveness, prayer, justice and social friendship (s. 36).  Francis also calls for balance; young people, he says, don’t want a silent church’,  but nor do they want ‘one that is always battling obsessively over two or three issues’ The church’s credibility, and not only with young people, depends on listening (s.41).

Perhaps some of Francis’s observations in this letter might be helpful to our parish community as we respond to Cardinal John’s request that we reflect on the best use of our buildings and other assets.  How can we equip ourselves to support each other as a faith community and as the people of God in the world?

Jim McAloon, Chair, Parish Pastoral Council.

The full newsletter can be viewed here.