Letter from Fr. General for the Youth and Young Adult Encounter – Granada 2017

www Brehl Granada 580

Dear Young Adults, Confreres, Lay Missionaries and Associates,

Greetings from Rome as you begin your planning meeting for the Youth and Young Adult Encounter to take place in Granada, Spain in 2018! These European gatherings have an important history as well as a real significance for European Redemptorist youth and young adult ministry. For almost 30 years, they have gathered young people, Redemptorist confreres and Sisters, youth leaders and other adults together for an intense period of prayer, reflection, mission, and social interaction. Through these encounters, relationships have formed, vocations have blossomed, and all of us have been renewed and encouraged in our call to service and discipleship. Above all, these Encounters have been true encounters with Jesus the Redeemer.

We are now on the road towards the next Synod of Bishops in 2018. For this Synod, Pope Francis has chosen the theme of Youth and Young Adults, Faith and Vocational Discernment. Shortly after the conclusion of this Synod, the whole Church will celebrate the World Youth Day in Panama in January 2019. These are two very important events for the whole Church, and especially for the Redemptorist missionary family. And the gathering to take place next summer will be very opportune as Europe, the whole Congregation, and the entire Church prepare for the Synod and the WYD.

All three events are much more than the celebrations which will take place in Granada, at the Synod in Rome in October 2018, and in Panama at the World Youth Day in January 2019. The European gathering, the Synod and the WYD invite all of us to make a pilgrimage of faith, reflection and response – with follow up in our individual countries, Units and communities. I am writing you this brief letter to encourage your full participation in all three of these events, and to offer some simple suggestions about setting out on this journey.

  1. SYNOD 2018

For the first time, the Holy Father has specifically invited Youth and Young Adults respond to a questionnaire in preparation for the Synod. This questionnaire can be found on the internet at http://www.youth.synod2018.va. Pope Francis encourages not only members of our youth groups, or Redemptorist associates, but especially all young people including those who are disappointed with the Church, or not at all engaged with any Church group, to respond as honestly and openly as possible.

In this spirit, I encourage everyone of you to go to this page on the Vatican Website, open the questionnaire, answer as completely as you can, and encourage your friends, school companions, family members and others to do so as well. Read the preparatory documents, engage in the discussion, take part in the journey! Your voice will add greatly to the preparation and experience of the Synod and the discussions there.

  1. World Youth Day 2019

As you know, the next World Youth Day will be hosted in Panama from January 22 – 27, 2019. Now is the time to begin preparations for this special event. The week in Panama is only one part of the World Youth Day. To truly celebrate this event, Redemptorist Youth and Young Adult Ministry around the world can participate in a process of preparation, with Pope Francis, and with their brothers and sisters everywhere.

Some Redemptorist Youth and Young Adults will actually travel to Panama. There, they will also be invited to take part in an Alphonsian Day, prepared and hosted by the Province of Central America and the Redemptorist Family of Latin America and the Caribbean. More details will be provided later, however, preparations for groups traveling to Panama must begin now.

However, the vast majority of Redemptorist Youth and Young Adults will not make the journey in person. We encourage all to take part in this pilgrimage at home, through spiritual preparation and participation in the Youth Synod process, through prayer and reflection, and especially through concrete acts of mission and ministry. In many conferences, encounters and dialogues will also take part to bring together young adults from different countries and areas.

  1. The European Gathering 2018

As you meet this month to plan the European gathering next summer, I invite you to take both the Synod and the WYD into account in your planning. Can all three events be part of one process of renewal and revitalization of our mission and ministry as Witnesses of the Redeemer today?

I encourage you to read the preparatory documents available about the Synod, and to begin to reflect on how Europe can participate in both the Synod and the WYD. This participation is not only expressed by ‘going’ to these events – but also by preparing for them, participating in the process, and discerning how God is calling us to respond today.

At the very least, I encourage all to take part in the online questionnaire for the Synod that I have mentioned earlier in this letter. You have a real opportunity to influence the working document for the Synod, and to open up the agenda for themes that are really important to young people today. Please take advantage of this opportunity, and encourage everyone you know to do so as well.

  1. Conclusion

With the European Gathering and the Synod in 2018, and World Youth Day in 2019, the next eighteen months offer Redemptorist Youth and Young Adult Ministry, as well as Vocation Ministry, an intense period of preparation, discernment and participation in the pilgrim journey of the whole Church. I especially encourage all those entrusted with the leadership and animation of RYVM to take part wholeheartedly in this pilgrimage of faith.

May Our Mother of Perpetual Help, St. Alphonsus, all our Redemptorist Saints, blessed and martyrs, and especially Blessed Kaspar Stanggassinger, accompany us on our way as we follow Jesus our Redeemer and brother. And may God bless you all.

Your brother in Jesus our Redeemer,

Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R.

Superior General