Youth & Young Adult Ministry: On the Thirtieth Anniversary of St. John Paul II's Letter to Youth

Authored by Bob Rice in Issue #2.1 of The Catechetical Review

Thirty years ago, in 1985, coinciding with the “International Youth Year” proclaimed by the United Nations, St. John Paul II wrote Dilecti Amici, a letter to the youth of the world. Though many of his previous documents mentioned young people, Dilecti Amici was unique among St. John Paul II’s letters because its entire content was directed towards the young. It revealed not only what he thought about them but also how he felt they should be addressed. For these reasons, it offers much, by example, about how the Church should relate to youth.

Much of the letter reflected on the story of the “rich young man,” who didn’t follow Christ because he could not give up his many possessions. With keen spiritual insight, St. John Paul II wrote that the greatest possession this man had was his youthfulness. “Youth is in itself (independently of any material goods) a special treasure of man.”[i] Christ not only asked this young man to leave his material possessions but to offer up his own youthfulness to follow him. Evangelists today should realize how significant this sacrifice is, especially in a culture where people are reluctant to “grow up.”

Though the young man’s possessions kept him from following Jesus, it was his youthful curiosity that brought him to Christ in the first place. Young people aren’t afraid to ask difficult questions, such as the young man did in the story. Christ not only provides the answers, he is the answer. Those who speak with the young must not be afraid to answer their questions, but they must also do more. They need to help young people ponder new questions, such as the meaning of life, the meaning of good and evil, and the importance of eternity.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting editor@catechetics.com

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Catholic Schools: Lessons Learned from an Iraqi School
By Tiffany Boury
"The Church is alive in Iraz, and Christ is alive in Iraq." Pope Francis, March 7, 2021 Erbil, Iraz On my fiftieth birthday, I received as a gift a detailed map of the world. The map holds pins of places traveled on behalf of Franciscan University of Steubenville and the names of cohort members in the Master of Catholic Leadership graduate program... Read more
Youth & Young Adult Ministry: Spiritual Multiplication: What Exactly Are We Talking About?
By Nathan Costin
Free How do you bring someone to faith in Jesus Christ? As Christians, this is a question we should have a ready-made answer for. Whatever our response, we cannot withhold that Jesus Christ is God , that he is a person , and that he is alive . We need to introduce people to faith not as a concept or doctrine but rather as a profound and personal... Read more
RCIA & Adult Faith Formation: Baptism Preparation: A Family-Centered Approach
By Jason Gawaldo
We recently had our fifth child baptized, and I was remembering our baptism class shortly before our first child was born. It was doctrinally accurate and fully explained the signs and symbols of the Rite of Baptism. I was a young DRE at the time, and it was the same sort of class that I offered as part of my ministry. But if I’m honest, it was... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now