Friday, August 19, 2011


Pope Benedict XVI challenged the youth of today to avoid the cultural traps and snares which lead nowhere. Benedict spoke very bluntly about substance abuse, promiscuity, and unhealthy lifestyle choices. While he has received much flack for his comments, he has been firm in his challenge to live a virtuous and moral life.

Renew International is engaging the youth in a discussion activity which examines various moral and ethical dilemmas. This 'what would you do' game seeks to teach the young people about the various moral and social teaching of the Church. More so it becomes a starting point for the young people to continue to look at their lives through a moral lens. Sometimes we do not understand that our actions, or in-actions, have consequences beyond ourselves. These activities and workshops hope to help our young people recognize that we are in communion with one another.

Some of our youth went to World Youth Day a few years ago, and came back with a very different understanding of their place in the world, as well as the diversity within the Church. The teaching that Christ died for all men and women began to take on new meaning for these young people. To be sure anytime we can move outside of ourselves into the lives of each other, it is certainly a moment of grace and solidarity.

For the youth, issues like justice, poverty, hunger, and peace, become central as they wander through the Church, seeking understanding and resolution. Sadly many of our youth do not feel part of the Church. Growing up, and as a young priest, I heard the phrase, "The future of our Church," in relation to our youth. In reality they are members of our Church today.

Together we come away with an awareness that Jesus Christ is the source of our salvation and peace. Hopefully the excitement and joy of the youth can help us to understand and to embrace the Kingdom of God.

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