“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” (Mark 10:14-15).
Through these simple words, Jesus not only shows his love for innocence, but the responsibility of all people of good will to preserve and to protect youth. Undoubtedly, it is they, who in the whole of society, suffer the most from violence and bad example. Their souls are the most sensitive, and, moreover, today’s youth is the world of tomorrow.
Activities and Goals
So wherever they are, the principal effort of the Heralds could not fail to be in benefit of young people in houses for the apostolate or youth centres especially focused toward their evangelization. These small communities are normally responsible for the evangelizing mission within a particular city, but it sometimes extends over a larger region.
This missionary activity is carried out using a variety of means such as meetings, skits, games, debates, pilgrimages and other cultural excursions and encompasses a broad area of interests including Catholic doctrine, apologetics, history, art, music and so on. As the missionary activity of these houses develop they become a point of reference for those young people who wish to deepen their faith and a more sustained and detailed program is provided for them.
Drawing much from the rich heritage of Salesian pedagogy, the Heralds seek to make young people understand that true joy and peace are not obtained by the unrestrained pursuit of facile pleasures and the gratification of selfish passions, but by the practice of virtue in accordance with Christina morality and in view of the common good moved by the love of God and of neighbour. This goal cannot be achieved simply through the repetition of fancy words, but by presenting real life examples, past and present, and by creating wholesome and joyful surroundings for them to learn.
Engaging the entire family…
The centers also seek to strengthen the family bond through programs involving parents together with their children.
Often parents end up attending the activities of youth centres almost as much as their children, which allows them to personally watch the games and the practice sessions, assist at meetings, and, above all, witness the joy of their children learning about the faith. So much so, that many of them opt to participate in programs established for adults, often held simultaneously with the ones for young people. This apostolate thus benefits the entire family as a whole, the first cell of society, with young people and adults, with children and their parents. On some occasions, such as, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, special family meetings are organized specifically in view of the whole family participating in activities together.
The gathering of all these people together by an institution whose members are not afraid to profess their faith and to express their deep spiritual convictions generates interest in the Church’s life and the desire to actively participate in parish life. So the youth centres with their the catechism classes, with their assistance in the preparing for baptism and in regularizing the marital status of couples, attending requests to provide help to the sick, home-bound and elderly, even if they live at a significant distance allows for a greater integration into the life of the parish and into diocesan pastoral plans.
Bringing forth fruits for the Church and the world
It is important to note that the majority of the young people who will participate at activities hosted by the youth centres do not become members of Heralds of the Gospel. In fact, only a small minority, after a period of discernment, growth and generosity, discover that they have a vocation. However, the benefits from the same educational and formative programs that all of the participants have received will serve them later in their professional and family life and make an authentic contribute to the progress of society and of the world.