Message of the Salesian Youth Movement from Panama

07 Feb 2019

New Rochelle’s Vicky Weekley Helps Draw Up Message

Representatives of Canada and United States at the SYM forum

(ANS – Rome – January 29) – Youth is a gift to be shared; young people are not only the future, but also the present of the Church and of society; and being part of the Salesian Youth Movement means leaving one’s comfort zone to go serve the world’s neediest: these are some of the vital concepts contained in the message that the SYM prepared at WYD 2019 in Panama, which are now offered to encourage all the young people of the SYM.

On Wednesday, January 23, more than 200 young people and leaders of the Youth Ministry of Salesians and the Salesian Sisters, representing 30 countries on all six continents, gave life to the SYM Forum in the Basilica of St. John Bosco in Panama City.

In that broad open debate, subdivided by language, the participants gathered together on the meaning and role of youth in today’s world; on how to integrate the vocational perspective and the discernment in the paths proper to the SYM; on how to build, starting from a commitment as youths, a more humane and just society; and they also shared the good practices carried out by the SYM in many parts of the world.

All these contributions, together with those received in the subsequent debate with Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime and Mother Yvonne Reungoat, were then elaborated upon on the following day at the Don Bosco Technical Institute of Panama.

Five young people of the SYM, coming from different regions of the world – Dino Martinello (Australia); Victoria Weekley (USA); Julia Kershofer (Austria); Gerson Santos (Angola); and Andrea Ordoñez (Colombia) – accompanied by the heads of the SDB Youth Ministry Dicastery and the FMA Youth Ministry Sector, summarized what had emerged the day before, and helped to focus how the SYM helps young people make life choices.

Photo: The group who drew up the SYM message in Panama, including Vicky Weekley from the Office of Youth Ministry in New Rochelle (2nd from right).

In a sort of continuation of the work of the recent Synod of Bishops on “Youth, Faith, and Vocational Discernment,” and in light of the theme of the WYD of Panama, which indicates to young people the example of Mary as a model of availability to God’s plans (“Here I am, I am the servant of the Lord, let what you have said happen to me” – Luke 1:38), the young people of the SYM in Panama have elaborated a message addressed to all the youths of the worldwide SYM.