The Church is preparing itself to welcome thousands of young people coming from the whole world to celebrate World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013. An intense program was created to keep alive the concern for our youth. A concern that has been an issue for some time already. Even at the close of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI affirmed the trust and love that Church had always felt for youth. Now we must, among so many legacies that WYD entrusts to the youth in each global encounter, also leave a legacy is called Social Charity. Actually, since the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI, continuing the reflections of the Magisterium of the Church, emphasizes the profound relation between the reality of faith and human action. In the recent document "Porta Fidei," this relationship is once again brought to our attention. There is a single interwoven path: living the Faith and the practice of charity. This is a long path that runs through the whole history of salvation and manifests itself in an extraordinary form in the life and message of Jesus Christ. The practice of charity is, so to speak, a bridge that indelibly joins our world, the world where the voices of death want to eliminate life, with eternity in God. And, because of this, we get attacked in every area, from violence and war to carelessness with the environment, passing through into the greed of the economic market, and in all forms of destruction that war against human life since its origin. The Holy Father tells us that we cannot become indolent in faith because it is life's companion that allows us to realize the wonderful things that God wants to do for all of us. Faith helps us to identify the signs of the times in the today of History and impels us to recognize the living sign of the presence of the Risen One in the world.
Today the world has a particular need for the vigorous witness of those who, illuminated in heart and mind by the Word of God, are able to open those same hearts and minds to live out charity. Presented with the lives of so many youth who are becoming familiar with the experience of suffering, loneliness and abandonment, we want to be the consoling voice of Christ for them. We need to be the Cyrenean who helps to bear the weight of everyday crosses. In this way, the social legacy of WYD points in the direction of one of the plagues that afflicts our youth: the world of drugs. We want to be the Good Samaritan that gets closer and makes himself available to help and make sense out of life. Prevent, lift up, help to recover for a better life: that's our mission. Society needs the witness from people that, illuminated by the Word of the Lord, become living signs of the Resurrected One in the world. Let’s get to work!!
Fr. Manuel Manangão
Episcopal Vicariate for Social Charity
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