29 Nov 2019
SYM Is at Vatican’s International Youth Advisory Body
(ANS – Vatican City – November 26) – On the feast of Christ the King, November 24, the Vatican dicastery for the Laity, the Family, and Life joyfully announced the establishment of the International Youth Advisory Body, consisting of 20 young people from six continents and several international movements, associations, and communities. The Salesian Youth Movement is represented, thanks to Carina Baumgartner, a 28-year-old Austrian, who has already participated in numerous international meetings – including the 11th International Youth Forum last June. She has wide-ranging experience in the field of youth across the globe.
The Final Document of the 2018 Synod called for the “activity of the Youth Office of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life to be strengthened also through the establishment of a body representing young people at the international level.” The institution of this new body, therefore, is the direct daughter of that Synod, as well as the will of Pope Francis, who often emphasizes how the active contribution of young people is essential for the Church.
The body will work closely with the Dicastery on youth issues, and the first 20 selected young men and women, appointed for a three-year term, are young people who have been involved in different phases of the synod process; they will have their first meeting in April 2020.
“I look forward to listening and discussing different perspectives from around the world. In particular, I want to contribute with my experience in the SYM. We put young people at the center, we give them responsibility, we trust them, and we take their concerns seriously. I am pleased that Pope Francis gives this place to young people now in the Church!” Carina commented.
The 28-year-old Viennese represented Austria in the Salesian Youth Movement in Europe and the Middle East. She also has contacts in various African, Asian, and American countries. A sincere concern for her is the commitment of young people in the Generation Laudato Sì initiative. When it was founded, during World Youth Day in Panama, she was present. And at the 11th International Youth Forum in Rome, she also had the opportunity to meet with Pope Francis personally.
Born in Vienna in 1991, Carina is a kindergarten and after-school teacher. She studied social work and is currently completing her Master’s degree as a theater teacher. For three years, she has been working as a pedagogical attaché in the SYM; has carried out numerous volunteer initiatives, always aimed at the care of children and adolescents, and with the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and the NGO VIDES, she has been a volunteer in Georgia and Ethiopia. She has staged shows for children, directed a children’s choir, and was responsible for the altar servers in her parish of origin.
“I’m very happy to be a believing and religious person and to know that God by my side. My faith gives meaning to my life. Holy Mass, celebrating, singing, and praying together are like filling stations for me. With a full tank I feel, in everyday life, like Don Bosco, to living the words ‘Be happy, do good, and let the sparrows chirp.’”