As youth and young adult’s ministers, we have been given the most significant task of accompanying those under our care to a life of discipleship.

“As disciples, they learn prayer, they celebrate liturgy, they include the poor at every level of their lives, they invite and welcome others to follow Jesus, and they study and learn about their faith.” 1

We strive so those that the heart of our  jóvenes can beat in unison with the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and it is in this relationship that they will find purpose for themselves and meaning for their lives.

Alex n Josue

2015 © Alex Barraza.

Last month, I had the opportunity be part of my eldest son’s summer mission trip/retreat with his youth group.  It was a week full of prayer, learning about our faith, and of service.  We participated in a life changing retreat and then traveled to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to support an organization that helps people that live in the colonias to acquire their own home.  We  also as helped at the Sacred Heart Church’s shelter for Refugee Families.  Many if not most of the young people who participated had never participated in a week like this.  The jóvenes shared their testimonies after the week-long experience and it was very challenging to hear how working with these families and seeing the faces of so many families in the shelter had changed their perspective on life. I describe this experience as challenging because these Jóvenes expressed their desire to continue doing more.

Pope Francis’ motto, “Miserando atque eligendo”, “meaning lowly but chosen; literally in Latin ‘by having mercy, by choosing him,’2” states so beautiful a heart that is open to God’s will and action in their lives.  It is the perfect challenge for our Jóvenes and all of us to journey deeply into our hearts and see who is in them.  As our universal pastor, Pope Francis is inviting the Church to join him and embark in a Year of Mercy in the sense that we are called to have this deep relationship with the Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Jesus affirms that mercy is not only an action of the Father, it becomes a criterion for ascertaining who his true children are. In short, we are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us.”

During this past week of service I saw how all of us have the capacity to be merciful people.  Young people can be a solution to the needs of others and learn that people have value regardless of how much they have or their social status.  In his new encyclical “Laudate Si”, Pope Francis states:

“There is a need to respect the rights of peoples and cultures, and to appreciate that the development of a social group presupposes an historical process which takes place within a cultural context and demands the constant and active involvement of local people from within their proper culture.”

The Jóvenes that we accompany in our groups and parishes can be taught to be part of the solution to the afflictions in our culture.  Together we can teach them to have a Heart of Jesus and to see themselves involved and invested in finding solutions to the many challenges we face.

In the words of the Apostle Peter:

“Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, [rise and] walk.’”

We need to pray for our world to change, yet we are also called to give of ourselves and make a difference with our own gifts.  Christ invites us to be active participants of the world around us.  May Our Lady of Guadalupe pray for us as we seek to bring God’s mercy to all the children of God, as is her desire from Tepeyac.

  1. Bill Huebsh “Jesus is the Master Catechist” P. 9 2015 Twenty-Third Publications
  3. “Misericordiae Vultus”  Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. No. 9
  4. 2015.  Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ of the Holy Father Francis on Care for our Common Home.   No. 144
  5. Acts 3:6

2015 © Alejandro Barazza. Todos los Derechos Reservados