The Roar of Oblate Youth at WYD 2023

World Youth Day - Lisbon

By Fr. Felix Nyambe, OMI

Fr. Felix Bwalya and Fr. Ray Cook at WYD

The youth want to talk, they want to be heard and the roar of the Oblate Youth and other youth from around the world at WYD was loud enough for the church not to listen.

The passionate and energetic young people are transformers, they create waves of change. They have the power and potential to impact change. “I dream that young people become the driving force that helps our entire charismatic family to live the Gospel with joy and enthusiasm and to proclaim it among the poorest” stated Fr. Luis Ignacio Rois Alonso, OMI, Superior General. Young people remind us that they have a prophetic voice in the church and society. They have the power to make a difference in the church and society. They made a great impact in Lisbon.

World youth day reminded us that as we journey with the young people, we should not leave anyone behind in matters that concern all of us. To build up the kingdom of God, everyone matters. We do not walk alone on our journey of faith. The church should continue to nurture the faith of our young people as they continue to look for a profound encounter with God, the church, with others, while also looking for answers to their daily problems.

The young people want to be participants not observers. They want active participation in the church and society. They want to be accepted as they are, that we are all equal in the eyes of God. They want to feel that they belong, that there is a place for them in the church. Pope told the youth, “In the church, there is room for everyone.” The church is mother that should welcome everyone.

Some young people lack a sense of identity in the church. They need the support of the church. We all have hopes, fears, disappointments, setbacks, concerns, struggles, anxieties, and joys. But God’s faithfulness never fails us. We all strive for perfection but in our humanity, we still fall. Pope Francis encouraged the youth that, “If you fall, get up and help others to get up as well.” The Pope further said, “Do not stop and give up, indeed, we need to bring those struggles and tears to the Lord. Always be ready to start again.”

USP Oblates Fr. Ray Cook (cowboy hat), Jesse Esqueda (black shirt) and Superior General, Chicho Rois at WYD

With renewed faith and hope, we pray for our young people that they may believe in their gifts, that they matter, that they are needed and loved. God is love and loves everyone. “We are loved as we are” God’s heart beats uniquely for you” Pope Francis told the young people.

The church should continue to patiently journey with the young people, give them a listening ear and offer them guidance. As Pope Francis stated, “Let’s rediscover our roots and keep moving forward without fear.” May the church continue to encourage the young people to empower themselves, and as agents of transformation, they may empower others.