Friday, February 1, 2019
The Mission Assembly of the Italian province was held in Pesaro on January 29-31. The theme was: “To listen to the youth and mission.” The first day was given to the sharing of experiences in the sector of youth pastoral in the Comboni communities of the province, evaluating its presence, understanding the expectations and desires of the today’s youth and possible ways of insertion. The theme, in fact was “listening to the youth,” because what counts is not to give pre-fabricated solutions or to speak to the youth, but rather to pay attention, to discern their dreams, their hopes and their fears.
The closing document of the Synod on youth stresses that “Listening makes possible and exchange of gifts in a context of empathy. It sets the conditions for a proclamation of the Gospel that will truly reach the heart in an incisive and fertile way.”
Of great interest during this first day was the contribution of Fr. Armando Matteo, professor of fundamental theology at the Urbaniana University, who spoke on young people, on educational and vocational generativity and on possible avenues to work among young people after the Synod. Fr. Matteo underlined how at the present time, adults who should be points of reference are no longer able to show the link between adulthood and faith. Today, added Fr. Matteo, the youth is learning to live without God, without an experience of Church, without a reference to Jesus Christ, the reason being the fracture in the generational transmission of faith, because the adult universe has given up on its own witness of faith, having decided that its happiness no longer depends on clinging to a formative structure of being adult, but on the ability to stay young. The time has come to redefine youth pastoral and catechesis, underlined the speaker, basing them on the Christian community as the generational and educational place for the young.
The latter part of the day was given to the Comboni youth pastoral through presentations of the GIM activities and the witness of Tommaso, a young GIM member.
Reports from the various commissions of the province (mission secretariat, Migrants commission, JPIC, communications and media, Lay people) filled the entire second day. It was the time to ‘listen to the mission’ of the Comboni communities in the province. Fr. Giovanni Munari, Provincial, concluded this second day recalling the five important challenges of the Comboni communities: globalization and an understanding of the mechanisms governing the world today in order to face them in a more effective and prophetic way; credibility of the Comboni presence in our society by “becoming a prophetic sign wherever we live”; multiculturality; Church reform and, consequently, the reform of our style of life; and finally the importance of communication/proclamation in today’s world.
The last day of the assembly was given to proposals on policies and on concrete activities for 2019.
The number of activities in the Italian province, from the commitment to migrants to youth work, is striking. They are an indication of vitality and enthusiasm for mission. In this Italian and Western society it is a duty to practice what Pope Francis calls the “apostolate of the ear,” namely the empathic and deep listening of reality, especially among the impoverished and marginalized, the consequence of the culture of “rejection.”