Tuesday, December 02, 2008

10 New Paradigms for the Salesian Youth Movement

The Salesian Youth Movement in the Philippines turned 20!

To mark the occasion, the two Salesian provinces that comprise the Philippines marked out a date to re-launch it. It took place last November 29-30. And because time was a luxury for us, we failed to attend the rest of the activities. But we did make it for the talk of Fr. Mario Baclig, SDB.

Fr. Baclig is "the" expert when it comes to Youth Ministry.

We came late. He was already halfway of his talk when we arrived but I had the access to the soft copy of his talk. I'll be posting the first part here. Thanks, Ate Fe! I promise to post the second portion if I have the chance.

Fr. Baclig gave me the go signal to share this here for the benefit of those who may have the need to update themselves as regards youth ministry particularly in the context of the Philippines.

Enough of the tales. Here are the new paradigms, according to Fr. Baclig:

1. The world is flat! More than ever, the young are a special treasure in the Church and in society. When they are formed, organized, and mobilized, they become a dynamic force ablaze with youthful energy.

SDBs should come down from the podium and give the floor to the young. Let SYM-Philippines unfold into a movement of youth, accompanied at every step by lay and SDB animators.

2. Money and guns have not transformed the world. Today, we need the vision and dreams of young people. We can build God's kingdom and change the world if the young take up their role as agents of transformation in society.

Twenty years are more than enough to grow and mature. Let SYM-Philippines take seriously the mission of social transformation, and progressively involve the young in social issues and commitments.

3. Jesus Christ calls each young person by name and awaits a response of responsible commitment. Today, we need young people who have fallen in love with Christ and are willing to commit their whole lives in his service.

Enough with sweet talk and freebies! Let SYM-Philippines lead the young to the heights of volunteerism and become the fertile ground for vocations to lay leadership, priesthood, and religious life.

4. The Salesian system of education works on human reason, cherishes the dignity of the human person, and engages all the inner resources of the young.

We need not bright luminaries but vision-led persons, not ideas but values, not books but growth-processes. Let SYM-Philippines empower the young from within and foster the development of values.

5. The Salesian system of education is founded on religion, acknowledges the primacy of God's grace, and fosters among the young a relationship of loving faith in God.

Who says that young people are not interested in prayer? Let SYM-Philippines be a school of prayer, with meaningful liturgies and prayer-experiences for children and youth.

6. The Salesian system of education unfolds in an atmosphere of loving kindness and family spirit, in the setting of a living and loving community.

Not only activities, but above all, activities and loving relationships! Let SYM-Philippines form community-builders by fostering the dynamics of group-life.

7. God's Word is not one of the many signals and messages in today's Information Age. God's Word is God himself, alive, loving, and powerful.

The Sunday Eucharist is our source of spiritual nourishment. Let SYM-Philippines take the Bible seriously and use "Word and Life" as the weekly formation program of the different groups.

8. The greatest form of poverty in today's world is the reluctance of persons to reach out to those in need. Our greatest treasure then is our willingness to serve others.

Not a distinct group of lay volunteers, but volunteerism in all groups. Let SYM-Philippines lead the children and youth to the heights of volunteerism and service.

9. In 1986, the bishops of the Philippines accepted and endorsed the Youth Encounter (Virac model) as the basic formation program for all young people. This is God's gift to the Filipino youth.

Here is a program made especially for the Filipino youth, unlike others that are mere adaptations of foreign programs. Let SYM-Philippines embrace and share the Youth Encounter (Virac model).

10. A new phenomenon called "Appreciative Inquiry" is rapidly becoming an effective catalyst for change in persons, organizations, and society—in fact, a way of life. It fosters the involvement of every person and creates a forward-looking movement.

We need optimists, not pessimists; positive leaders, not problem solvers. Let SYM-Philippines enrich its programs with the paradigms of Appreciative Inquiry.

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