MUMBAI, India – Society must learn from young people and give them responsibility, according to India’s top prelate.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay, was speaking at the opening Mass of the POWER 3029 International Youth Conference taking place July 21-26 at the Divine Retreat Center in Muringoor, Kerala.
“Youth should be energetic. Youth should dream dreams, filled with Jesus; dream dreams to transform the world,” Gracias said. “You are called to do this. Jesus is with you. Learn to Dream dreams, dreams for a better world, better society, better India. This is a sign that Jesus is with you: In your homes and hearts. Dream dreams the Holy Spirit is with you.”
Over 3,000 young people attended the event in Kerala, a Christian heartland in the Hindu-majority nation.
Gracias also serves on Pope Francis’s Council of Cardinal Advisors and attended last October’s Synod on Young People in Rome.
“I was privileged to attend the synod and so I heard the cry of the youth, which they made to the Holy Father and to the assembled bishops,” the cardinal said.
“The youth cried out, asking the Holy Father, three things: Listen to us, trust us, and accompany us. This was the call that we heard over and over again from the youth,” he said.
Gracias explained that to “listen” means more than to “hear” – it means giving “your full attention to what we are saying.”
“Our youth cried out to the Church over and over again in Rome: Listen to us. Trust us, we can do things; do not think of us as mere children, unable to do things. Trust us, we are responsible and know that we can do things well,” the cardinal continued.
“This is a message for all parents present here, I am aware, that for parents a child is always a child – whether teenage or even an adult – for a parent, a child always needs nurturing and caring,” he said. “But society must learn from our youth, to give them responsibility, to know and accept that our youth are generous, authentic, and want to transform the world for the better,” Gracias said, adding that young people are “full of energy and enthusiasm.”
Gracias also said that in seeking accompaniment, the youth want the Church to “walk with us as we take risks.”
“Be at our side, don’t leave us alone. If we make mistakes correct us. Don’t neglect us,” he said.
Gracias said that youth is also a time for building relationships.
“All baptized are called to have a relationship with Jesus: To become disciples of Jesus, to transform the world,” he said. “Francis continuously asks us to be true missionary disciples. Dream dreams of becoming true missionary disciples.”
The cardinal said this missionary discipleship does not mean leaving home and going elsewhere, but can take place at home, in society, and in the workplace.
“This is a time when youth make decisions about their lives, their futures, professions, your friends … for all this youth continuously need wisdom, discernment. You need the Holy Spirit to be with you,” Gracias said.
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