In the Synod of Bishops that is celebrated in these days in Rome under the theme of “Young people, faith and vocational discernment ”, the Auditor of part of the Neocatechumenal Way D. Hilaire K. Kouaho, Rector of the Redemptoris Mater International Diocesan Seminary of Madagascar, is participating.
Next, we send the intervention that he read before Pope Francis and the rest of the synodal assembly on the afternoon of Tuesday, October 16:
1. Blessed Father, reverend Synod Fathers, dear young friends. My name is Hilaire. I am from the Ivory Coast.
2. I thank His Holiness, who is also my bishop, to be able to participate in this great ecclesial moment in representation of all the communities of the Neocatechumenal Way.
3. When I was 18 the Lord made me start the Neocatechumenal Way experience. I come from a family far from the Church and together with them I have come to know the faith and the Church through a small community. Today my whole family is living this experience of faith in the Ivory Coast. In 1992 I entered the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Rome, and after a time of formation, I was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Rome. For 12 years, I have been the rector of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Madagascar.
4. The theme of listening is crucial to understand our young people. In every situation throughout your growing up, especially in times of crisis, we must listen to them. It is also necessary to educate them to listen to the voice of He who truly loves them as they are: Christ. At the center of Revelation is God himself who calls his people to listen.
5. The experience that young people have in the neocatechumenal communities is that of the weekly celebration of the Word of God and the possibility, in each celebration, of being heard giving their experience. Every Christian is called to put their life in the light of the Word of God. This education to listen and be heard happens first of all in the family through a “Domestic liturgy” on Sunday, where parents transmit the faith to the children, according to the custom of the Neocatechumenal Way.
6. The community to which young people belong, helps them feel taken seriously. Growing in a community made up of people of all ages, sex and social condition helps to destroy generational barriers and to grow together in Faith.
7. Through listening to the Word, young people discover how God is present in their concrete history, also in its most troublesome and painful implications. They discover a God who is near and bandages their wounds, they discover the mystery of the glorious cross that is the only one that gives meaning to the existence of man.
8. Within the communities, youth and adults live a gradual education to the faith through a Christian initiation that does not imply faith, but in several stages it helps to rediscover all the wealth contained in baptism.
9. This process is done under the guidance of a team of catechists made up of lay people (men and women) and priests who accompany the young person along their catechumenal journey. In this phase of the family’s passage to the community, the Way has discovered the beauty of a post-confirmation pastoral that helps young people to remain within the Church and to experience its riches at the critical age of puberty and adolescence.
10. In the small community they can experience the brotherly warmth that the youth so desire. The World Youth Days are occasions of great respite for young people who live moments of evangelization and fraternity with acquaintances from other parts of the world.
11. Saint Paul VI, through the Humanae Vitae, has helped many families in the Church to be open to life. This openness to life in the Way has resulted in vocations to consecrated life, to the priesthood and to marriage. A lot of young families, after a time of gestation of the faith inside their community, called by the bishops and sent by the Holy Father, go on a mission to the most secularized areas of the world.
12, The Holy Spirit is calling many young people from the communities to the priestly life. There have been erected 122 diocesan missionary seminaries by diocesan bishops. This internationality, which I have experienced first during my formation, I am now living again with the seminarians and priests formed in our seminary who come from 15 nations in Europe, Africa and America.
13. A young person, deep down, is looking for just one thing: to feel loved and welcomed. The Church, which is a teacher in humanity and who has the richness of the Gospel, is the only one to be able to offer them this beauty of love.
14. Wherever a young person is in the earth, also for them Jesus Christ has given his life and poured out his Blood, even if you don’t know it. All young people have the right to listen to the Good News, that it is possible to be happy not living selfishly for himself, but for others. Young people hope that we, as a Church, go out to meet them in the deep in his soul, where his deepest questions reside and where the imprint of God as well.
Thank you, Holy Father, for the good you want for young people.