Beijing (Agenzia Fides) - The Year of the Youth opened in the Archdiocese of Tai Yuan, in the province of Shanxi, in the northern part of the People's Republic of China. As Agenzia Fides learns from "Faith", over two thousand young Catholics participated in a solemn inaugural procession, in which great icons of the saints Gregory Maria Grassi OFM, John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta were brought. The special Year, launched by the diocese, will run from February 16th to November 25th 2018 and will be a way to prepare to live the Synod of Bishops dedicated to young people. The general theme of the Year is, in fact, "To seek God, to walk together in the universal Church", theme chosen in harmony with the recommendation of Pope Francis given for the XV Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme "Young people, faith and vocational discernment".
According to the information sent to Agenzia Fides, the solemn celebration of the opening of the Year of Youth, held on 21 February, was presided by Mgr. Paolo Meng Ning You, diocesan Bishop, and concelebrated by 60 priests, in the presence of 5 deacons, 24 seminarians and 28 nuns. In the typical festive atmosphere of youth gatherings, the young people present wrote their messages on a "wall of thoughts" prepared to welcome the reflections, ideas, wishes and spiritual purposes of the young people present, that will live a special time.
The solemn procession was characterized by pale blue and red colors, expressing in this way the hope that the young will follow the footsteps of the saints and martyrs of the Church, growing in faith. As Fr. Lv Xu feng, chancellor of the diocese explained, "pale blue indicates the commemoration of the 160 years of Our Lady of Lourdes; so we invite young people to take the example of Our Lady; red is the color of martyrs, and so we encourage young people to inherit the spirit of martyrdom for the cause of faith". The Year of the young is divided into five stages, each marked by a verse of the Gospel: to search; vocational promotion; the knowledge of the Church; "Alleluia", contest of sacred songs; the hope and the pilgrimage of young people.
Mgr. Paolo Meng says he is very proud of the diocesan Catholic youth and explains: "Faith and vocation are two elements that are well connected.
We must accompany the journey of the young and their vocational discernment in a secularized world. They are the future of the world and of the Church. We have 60 priests who offer pastoral service in the diocese, and another 130 serve in other dioceses or Chinese communities. We are blessed with so many vocations to priesthood. We hope that, thanks to initiatives like this one, dedicated to young people, new vocations of young people can flourish who wish to give themselves to priesthood and to consecrated life. In this way we can continue to send missionaries to the communities that need them". (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 1/3/2018)