Vatican City (Fides Service) - “What has this Forum meant for us who took part? A wonderful spiritual adventure, a wonderful experience of the Church; we were able to feel what its means to be the Catholic Church, universal! We are all so different but we are one”. Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity said this at the end of the 8th International Youth Forum held 31 March to 4 April at Rocca di Papa (Rome). About 300 participants, aged 20 to 26, active in the Church and in universities coming from 100 different countries reflected on the theme “Young people and University: bearing witness to Christ in the University environment”.
“This forum continues and it must continue because each one of us must take home the fundamental questions we have discussed: this is the challenge. Now each participant is aware that many people in the world share the same ideals: “You are not alone, you are many and the Church is with you as mother and teacher”. There is a new generation of young Catholics and some call them the “John Paul II generation”, those whom the Pope calls “morning watchmen”, Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko said.
What does it mean to be “morning watchmen ”? To have the courage to be ourselves, able to defend our Christian identity; to find once again the courage to demand much of ourselves remembering Pope John Paul II’s “Do not be afraid of being saints”, rebelling against the dictatorship to superficiality looking for centres or authentic education; having the courage to bear witness: Jesus relies on the witness and words of every one of us; having the courage to change ourselves remembering that in God’s eyes every person is important.
As Christians in the world we are a minority but this is not a risk: the risk is that we might become insignificant and marginal through our own fault. The risk is that salt may lose its taste, leaven may not ferment, the lamp may go out. Not only at university but in life Christ relies on each one of us. “The success of this Forum - Archbishop Rylko concluded- depends on you: now, put out into the deep!”. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 5/4/2004 - Righe 26; Parole 379)