A message from Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP to the young people of Sydney at the conclusion of the Synod of Bishops on Youth in Rome.
My dear young friends:
As you may know, I’ve spent the past month with young people like yourselves, with youth ministers, religious and priests, and with the Pope and bishops from around the world, meeting in the Vatican to discuss ‘Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment’.
In the meantime may I say a few things to you as I make my way back home:
- We’ve heard your hopes and concerns
- We are excited by your gifts and aspirations
- We sympathise with your difficulties and want to help
- We are sorry for the clergy child abuse and coverups and for other ways in which Church people have let you down
- But Christ never lets us down
- We are convinced Christ and the Church have so much to offer you
- We are convinced that you have so much to offer Christ and his Church
Think of John ‘the beloved disciple’, ‘the baby apostle’.
He heard the call of Christ as a teenager and had the courage to leave his fishing nets behind and follow Him. He walked with Christ and experienced highs and lows with Him – like the Transfiguration and the Agony in the Garden. In the process, Christ formed him to become ‘a fisher of men’.
But John never lost his fiery enthusiasm and noisiness: Jesus called him and his brother ‘thunder boys’.
He never lost his youthful energy: he ran to the tomb at Easter, much faster than Peter. He never lost his affection for the Lord: he leaned on Jesus’ breast at the Last Supper.
And he drew close to Mary – when Christ gave her to the Church as Mother from the cross. All this sustained him through a long life as a missionary disciple, a visionary and a great communicator of the Gospel.
I pray the Holy Spirit will grant you such moments of encounter, inspiration, mission and consolation!
And I rededicate myself to listening to you, helping you discern your vocation, teaching, leading and sanctifying you, and serving alongside you to make a better Church and better world.
With Christ, young people can do great things!
+Anthony Fisher op