The following quotes are from the “General Guidelines for Redemptorist Youth & Vocation Ministry” (March 2020). Their principles and rationale guide the work of Redemptorists and the ministry to young people throughout the world, including our Ignite Ministry here in Canada.
1. Moved by the Holy Spirit and inspired by our Founder, St. Alphonsus Liguori, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer is commissioned with the work of explicit proclamation of the Word of God through evangelization, missions and pastoral works. Since the days of the Redemptorists’ first foundations we have sought to consider the pastoral, social, cultural, and spiritual needs of the people with and to whom we have been called.
16. After over 30 years of work in Redemptorist Youth and Vocation Ministry, the Synod offered a reminder for us Redemptorists and Lay Partners in Mission that we must renew our commitment to this journey. We are called to be in mission with young people today, to point the way to Christ the Redeemer, to move beyond the doors of the Church, and to reach out to young people who are on the peripheries of faith and culture, presenting them with the question of Jesus Christ, “What are you looking for?” (Jn 1:38). We respond to the needs of young people today by offering “the redemption that encompasses the whole person, and perfects and transfigures all human values so that everything finds its unity in Christ (cf. Eph 1:10; 1 Cor 3:23)” (Const, 6).
18. We are reminded of the theme of our XX General Chapter (1985), “Evangelizare Pauperibus et a Pauperibus Evangelizari,” “To Evangelize the Poor, and to be Evangelized by the Poor.” We recognize that those we are called to serve invite us to live the Gospel more fully, and we are sent forth together as agents of the mission.
42. A challenge today is that many young people do not have a sense of their fundamental, baptismal vocation—their calling to give their life in mission as a response to Christ. This situation diminishes the possibility of them considering a life rooted in God through a religious vocation.
52. In our charism and experience in RYVM, we Redemptorists have a gift that moves us forward in a synodal vision of the Church. Our charism calls us in mission to our “Wounded World” as we strive to proclaim Redemption and Jesus Christ to some of the most troubled areas of our world, especially to young people who are affected by these wounds – war, injustice, abuse, sexism, political instability, oppression, etc.
53. Since our charism calls us to seek out the “abandoned, especially the poor,” it calls us to young people who have not had sufficient means of understanding the mysteries of salvation and who do not experience the Gospel as “Good News,” especially among the poor, the marginalized, and the little ones who have no voice in unjust and oppressive situations. The young are often marginalized within our world and left beyond the ordinary reach of the Church. Further marginalization for the young can result from discrimination over class, gender, race, or sexual orientation. In the gospels we hear Jesus speak of the shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine to seek the one lost sheep, but it is often our experience today that we must leave the one faithful sheep to go after the ninety nine who have wandered away.
54. Our charism and experience call us to invite young people into mission with Redemptorists. St. Alphonsus called others to share and participate in mission. Young people want a challenge. Our ministry can invite young people into the challenge of mission with and for their peers. They can participate as collaborators, Redemptorist Associates, and Lay Missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer. Through our style of mission, using simple and popular language, fostering friendship and compassion, Redemptorists and our partners in mission become a living memory, “viva memoria,” of Jesus Christ for the most abandoned poor of today. We model a charism empowering young people to “evangelize and be evangelized” themselves.
74. In developing any type of program or ratio for work with young people, it is important to keep the following elements in mind. These elements do not offer a blueprint for ministry to young people, but can help shape our thinking in order to make our work with young people impact the entire person and engage our charism in the work that we undertake. Pope Francis encouraged youth ministers to take two courses of action. “I wish simply to emphasize that youth ministry involves two main courses of action. One is outreach, the way we attract new young people to an experience of the Lord. The other is growth, the way we help those who have already had that experience to mature in it” (Christus Vivit, 209). A well balanced RYVM will strive to include the following elements, all of which can assist in both outreach and growth.
88. For this reason, the protection of young and vulnerable people must be seen as an integral part of our proclamation of the Good News. “Therefore, we all have the duty to receive minors and vulnerable persons with generosity, to create for them a safe environment, having their interests as a priority. This requires a continuous and profound conversion, in which personal holiness and moral commitment can concur to promote the credibility of the evangelical proclamation and the renewal of the Church’s… mission.” (Pope Francis, Motu Proprio on the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Persons, 29 III 2019).
100. We recognize that each conference and unit always need to take into consideration its particular context. It is vital that all programs build from the base of local communities. The movements of the Emmaus story inspire the overall journey of RYVM (Encounter, Recognize, Interpret, and Decide). However, it is still helpful to suggest concrete paths and strategies for implementing the principles of RYVM. The General Commission will provide online examples and proposals from experiences around the Redemptorist world.