12 Dec 2019
VIDES young man also in International Youth Advisory Body
(ANS – Tokyo – December 6) – In addition to Carina Baumgartner, a 28-year-old Austrian Salesian Youth Movement member, there’s another representative of the Salesian world in the International Youth Consultative Body, newly established by the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life to comply with the focus of the Synod on Young People. He is Raphael Makoto Yamada, a Japanese VIDES volunteer (International Volunteer Service for Women’s Education and Development). Below, a few remarks on his appointment.
How were you chosen for this advisory body?
I participated in the International Youth Forum on the recommendation of the Catholic Episcopal Conference of Japan. I shared the Japanese pastoral situation, especially of Catholic youth, and I also spoke about Salesian activities and the initiatives of the NGO to which I belong, which is very active in Japan.
Then, around October, I received a letter directly from the Laity, Family, and Life Dicastery. They invited me to participate in this new project guided by Pope Francis, whose purpose is to continue to promote the synod process between young Catholics after the Synod on Young People of 2018 and the publication of Christus Vivit.
What was your involvement in the synod process?
At the International Youth Forum, with another 100 young people from all over the world, I spoke about Japan, which is now at a crossroads; it welcomes many foreigners and the local Churches are becoming multicultural. We are moving into a new dimension of evangelization in Japan, with a lot of information spread by social networks and many open issues at local and global level.
This was also emphasized by Pope Francis at various times during his recent visit to Japan, which will help us change the Church’s attitude to become more open to diversity.
What struck you about Christus Vivit?
I read Christus Vivit, which is a courageous invitation to young people to have the confidence of being more creative and proactive. Pope Francis writes to young people to “be protagonists of the revolution of charity and service” (CV 174). This struck me a lot, and at the forum I heard that it also moved several other participants.
What do you expect from the advisory body’s first meeting, scheduled for April 2020?
I hope we can work on the pastoral issues of each country through a common platform, a website, to share our different local pastoral challenges. We can exchange volunteers among ourselves and inspire each other from different points of view. This body allows all of us the experience of “giving” to international communities, and these experiences will also make Japan more proactive in charity and in listening to what God wants.
The International Youth Advisory Body will be one of the venues to discuss what young Catholics want and to share their opinions with the people of the Holy See.