This greatly anticipated apostolic exhortation follows the Synod on young people, faith and vocational discernment held in October 2018.
Pope Francis released the document on 2 April, which is the anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II. This date was chosen “to link together the two pontificates, so loved by and close to the younger generations.” Pope Francis said.
What does the document say?
The exhortation opens with the statement: “Christ is alive! He is our hope and in wonderful way, he brings youth to our world. The very first words I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive! He is in you, he is with you and he never abandons you.”
The nine chapters provide much to think about, and urge young people to embrace their role as the present and the future of the Catholic Church. Every young person is encouraged to build relationships with their community and with God.
The document in return calls for the Church to listen to young people.
What has been the reaction so far?
Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, a Synod delegate and then-Bishop Delegate for Youth, said Pope Francis “presents a vision of and for youth that is optimistic and hopeful”.
“I am pleased that the Holy Father dedicates much of this letter to encouraging young people to cultivate a friendship with Jesus Christ and to invest in family life, in building relationships within their community and to join with others to serve the poor,” Archbishop Fisher said.
“There are so many voices in society today promoting individualism and independence as a means of personal fulfillment, but this has left too many youth feeling increasingly isolated, even with the ease of present forms of communication.”
Malcolm Hart, director of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Office for Youth, said it will take time to reflect upon the 68-page document, but some early messages speak loudly.
“Christus Vivit acknowledges many of the challenges facing the young, including how older people sometimes dismiss them, but also the gifts and energy they bring to our world,” said Mr Hart, who also serves as a consultor to the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.
“Pope Francis calls the Church to become young again and embrace the opportunities presented by young people.”
Where can you read it?
You can download the entire document here.
Pope Francis ends his exhortation with the encouragement “Keep running…May the Holy Spirit urge you as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us.”