Dakar (Agenzia Fides) - "We share with many young people their concerns: the lack of adequate formation, unemployment that affects most of them, the fragility of the school system, the desperation that leads them to illegal emigration", this is what the participants in the 42nd General Assembly of the Union of the Senegalese Clergy, which was held in Ziguinchor from 17 to 21 September, write in the final statement sent to Fides.
The theme of the Assembly, attended by priests from the 7 dioceses of Senegal in the presence of delegations from Mauritania and the Republic of Guinea, was "The Senegalese priest facing youth pastoral theology: issues, challenges and perspectives".
The statement underlines that, in addition to the problems listed above, "our youth is also marked by other social ills such as cohabitation, early fatherhood and maternity, violence, alcohol abuse and drugs".
"However, we have reason to hope, given the many opportunities available to young people in our churches" say the priests. "Despite the constant decline in numbers and enthusiasm in the movements of Catholic Action and in the apostolic groups, young people continue to attend them. To hear them say that family is an opportunity and recognizing the presence of the Church by their side during the crucial moments of their existence encourages and stimulates us".
Young people expect "more space and consideration from the Church, more listening and trust in them". They also "ask for help for their formation and support for their economic projects; they knock at the door of the Church to implore a job offer, wait to be encouraged to engage in politics and interreligious dialogue".
The priests are committed to strengthening their spiritual and catechetical formation in order to meet the needs of the young Senegalese.
Recognizing that young people have colonized the "sixth continent", the "virtual world", pastors emphasize that this is "a space to evangelize". To this end they promise "to commit themselves to being present on social networks to enter into dialogue with them and to guide them".
The priests reaffirm their readiness to collaborate with the State in the mission of helping young people. The Church plays an important role thanks to the network of Catholic schools active in Senegal. Finally, the young are asked to "live their faith fully, to give new life to the movements of Catholic Action, to rediscover their particular talents and charisms, putting them at the service of the Church and society, to be a model citizens and to resist the loss of traditional values". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 25/9/2018)