Canadian Delegates Discuss Implementation of Christus Vivit at 11th International Youth Forum in Rome

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international youth forum june2019 2Ottawa – The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) designated Ms.Kathleen-Rosebelle Diaz of Montréal, Québec, and Mr. Joseph San José of Burnaby, British Columbia, as Canada’s delegates to the recent International Youth Forum held in Rome from 19 to 22 June 2019. Ms. Diaz and Mr. San José were among the nearly 250 participants gathered as part of the follow-up and implementation phase of the ideas generated during the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment held in October 2018, as well as the recent World Youth Day in Panama held in January 2019.

Hosted by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, the Forum, which first began in 1987 in association with World Youth Day, consisted of a four-day event featuring talks and panels on topics such as synodality, pastoral ministry, and vocational discernment. The agenda also included working group sessions during which participants considered how to apply the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit in local Church communities.

Ms. Diaz, a member of the Coordination Team of the Diocesan Youth Ministry Office for the Archdiocese of Montréal, and Mr. San José, a Team Leader with Catholic Christian Outreach, a university student movement dedicated to evangelization, were both honoured and excited to be selected as the CCCB delegates to the Forum and to represent young people from the Catholic Church in Canada.

“While busy juggling various roles, this [Forum] is the ‘now’ during which Pope Francis challenges us to take action,” began Ms. Diaz. “Despite not knowing what to expect, I placed my trust in the process of the Synod and was thrilled to be able to journey with the delegates and the organizers.”

Mr. San José added, “I felt the responsibility to, first, be a listening ear in order to have a better understanding of the state of young people in the global Church, but also to be a courageous voice as to the state of young people from the Church in Canada.”

As the Forum drew to a close, Ms. Diaz and Mr. San José identified some important learnings for all delegates. “The very act of the Synod, as well as Christus Vivit, shows that the Church is endeavouring to make large-scale efforts to really listen to young people around the world,” said Mr. San José. “The Church desires young people to really step into a central role because without them, the Church cannot fully be herself.”

The delegates also recognized that the role of young people as protagonists or advocates in the Church will be essential in order to implement the findings from Christus Vivit. “Think big, start small,” stated Ms. Diaz. “Aim to have a Church that is alive and start where young people already are: respond to those around you so that they can encounter Christ; show priests, Bishops and older generations that young people want to be formed and accompanied; take part in important decisions; be patient and inspired by Saints and Jesus who did not wait before challenging others; and be involved in politics."

Ms. Diaz and Mr. San José will now determine how best to apply the experience of the International Youth Forum to their own environments working with young people. “I am very inspired to empower the young people in my care and in my local context in British Columbia,” began Mr. San José. “I feel the Lord calling me to take a chance on younger people and give them the opportunity to rise to the occasion.”

In Montréal, Ms. Diaz indicated that her initial step involves talking to young people. “The first step I intend to take is at a conversational level – creating space to talk about this incredible desire for a shift to happen in our Church by, first and foremost, listening and meeting young people where they are, going back to the roots of our faith and then, with time, asking them how this topic speaks to them, and challenging them to share their perspectives on how to take action.”

Both Ms. Diaz and Mr. San José will attend the CCCB’s 2019 Plenary Assembly taking place from 23-27 September 2019 in Cornwall, Ontario, to speak to the Bishops of Canada about their experience in Rome.

At the conclusion of the Forum, and to continue the focus on young people in the Church, the Holy Father announced the themes of the World Youth Day celebrations for the next three years:

2020 – “Young man, I tell you, arise!” (Luke 7:14)
2021 – “Arise! I have appointed you as a witness of what you have seen.” (Acts 26:16)
2022 – “Mary arose and went with haste.” (Luke 1:39)

World Youth Day is celebrated annually at the local diocesan / eparchial level and every two or three years at the international level. Pope Francis announced at the end of World Youth Day 2019 in Panama City, Panama, that the next international celebration of World Youth Day will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2022.

Last Updated on Thursday, August 08 2019  
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Canada’s oldest diocese, the Archdiocese of Quebec, was established in 1674. Most Reverend François de Laval was its first Bishop.