Madrid, Spain, 27 November 2017—The Hotel Weare Chamartin of Madrid today began receiving guests and participants for the Salesians’ International Congress on Youth Ministry and Family. The organizers, led by no less than Fr. Fabio Attard, SDB, General Councilor for Youth Ministry, and his team, welcomed those who were coming. They assisted the participants in finalizing the groups where they would belong (the workshops and the best practices) and providing them with elegant name tags and kits.
At 6:00 PM, the Congress began with a special prayer. Mr. Renato Cursi, who is a member of the Youth Ministry Team, served as master of ceremonies. Fr. Attard introduced the Congress and the Rector Major, Fr. Angel Fernandez SDB, welcomed everyone and delivered the opening address.
The highlight of the evening was the plenary talk by Archbishop Bruno Forte, Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto (Italy) and Secretary General of the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the contemporary world” (2015). His topic was “THE FAMILY IN THE CHURCH’S SYNOD: PROSPECTS AND OPPORTUNITIES.”
Archbishop Forte, in his talk, quoted St. John Paul II (Familiaris Consortio, 17): “Each family finds within itself a summons that cannot be ignored, and that specifies both its dignity and responsibility: family, become what you are.” He emphasized that marriage “is a vocation, inasmuch as it is a response to a specific call to experience conjugal love as an imperfect sign of the love between Christ and the Church. Consequently, the decision to marry and to have a family ought to be the fruit of vocational discernment.” He beautifully expressed in Italian what love in marriage should be: “L’amore e’ esodo da se'” (Love is a going out of oneself.) He mentioned four important words in ministering to families: to welcome, to accompany, to discern and to integrate. He concluded, leaving the participants with the following guide questions:
- In our pastoral ministry to the young and to families, do we pay proper attention to their experience of faith and to cultural sensitivity to the context in which we operate?
- Do we try to combine realism in understanding the problems with mercy in the way we face them, following the example of charity that burned in the heart of the Saint of the Young?
- Is our language such that the young can understand us and they and their families can feel touched by our sympathy and our love?
The day concluded with the dinner of the participants at the Hotel Tryp Chamartin.
This is part of the special reportage of Fr Joel Camaya, SDB who is participating in the International Congress on Youth Ministry and Family 2017.