The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) recently told the country's youth in a pastoral letter about their possible roles and contributions to the world and the Catholic Church.

The letter also acknowledged the youth's struggles and concerns and combined them with the Church's roadmap, where their place as owners and members is laid out.

Details of the Pastoral Letter

According to a report by The B.C. Catholic, the Canadian bishops issued the pastoral letter on Oct. 12, which coincided with the death anniversary of Blessed Carlo Acutis. The Blessed Acutis is the Catholic Church's first beatified millennial, the website bared.

CCCB's Office for Family and Life and Office for Evangelization and Catechesis issued the letter upon the request of the organization's executive committee. The letter came in video and written format, both of which interested parties may download and use for group activities or personal reflection.

"God's love and Christ's example empower you to challenge and change the world! What a difference you make to those who love you, and how valuable you are to our community of faith. You are the young Church of today and the Church of tomorrow. You are important to us, your Bishops, to your families, and to the world," one of the letter's opening paragraphs read.

The letter contained several themes that delve into different things about the youth, their faith, and the different personalities relevant to their lives:

  • Jesus encounters the teachers in the Temple

  • The presence of Jesus in your life

  • Mary, an influencer among us

  • Carlos Acutis: a role model for young people in the 21st century

  • Saint Kateri: a model of courage and perseverance

  • Technology and faith

  • Walking and talking together

  • Growing in faith: Learning over a lifetime

  • Be unique!

Each selection/theme comes with a reflection question for youth readers to help them better understand and appreciate the themes.

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The letter likewise tackles the youth's struggles, including those involving their mental health, which became a significant concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the letter, the Canadian bishops told people to seek dialogues with trusted persons and to ensure they have constant links with families and their communities.

In closing, the pastoral letter acknowledges the youth's gifts, which the bishops say are in line with and could prove beneficial in addressing the Church's current struggles.

"We are committed to finding opportunities to spend time, listening, learning, and growing in mutual understanding. The Church needs your vitality and enthusiasm. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and help you to understand how to use your unique gifts and talents for good," the letter said.

Parish Youth Leader Reacts to Letter

According to Eleanor Wong, a parish youth leader at Surrey's St. Matthew's Parish, the letter made her feel good knowing the Church authorities were listening to them. 

"It was good to see issues that I see in my ministry addressed in a document from church authorities. It makes us feel heard," The B.C. Catholic quoted her saying.

Wong added that many young Catholics "don't feel they have autonomy or agency in their faith, maybe because their parents make them go to church." She explained that the pastoral letter makes the youth see that their opinions matter to the Church.

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