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Apostolic Movement

An Encounter with the Pope: International Congress on Youth Ministry

Lady Rosana Silva

Full of joy, two representatives of the Schoenstatt Movement of Portugal were able to participate in the International Congress on Youth Ministry, which took place in Rome from May 22nd to the 26th. Mrs. Rosana Silva, from the Institute of Our Lady of Schoenstatt, and Maria Saquete, from the Girls’ Youth, met with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, at this event.

Mrs. Rosana tells us:

We received the challenge of participating in the International Congress on Youth Ministry, held in Rome from May 22nd to the 26th. And we had the honor of representing the International Schoenstatt Movement and sharing the evaluation of WYD23 with the whole Church, as we head to Seoul for WYD27. I, Rosana Silva, Lady of Schoenstatt, and Maria Saquete, of the Schoenstatt Allies, represented the entire Schoenstatt Youth.

What do I take away from the International Congress?

The synodal experience was a characteristic aspect of this congress. My experience was that of the road to Emmaus. I encountered the risen Christ through the people and charisms of the Church. The encounter on the road to Emmaus was always accompanied by a question that was repeated over and over: Where are you from and what is your name? We repeated this question time and time again.

There were 320 participants from different countries. We were able to take advantage of the richness of this culture because the team from the Dicastery for the Laity prepared and took care of all the details of the Congress.

International Congress on Youth Ministry
International Congress on Youth Ministry (Photo: Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life)

Listening, a sign of synodality

After many meetings and dialogues, we entered the “upper room” with Our Lady and felt like the Apostles wondering how we were going to announce to the Church, the Movements and society all the good news that we had been able to share during the meeting. It was then that the main characteristic of the synod was put into practice: the experience of listening.

Together we tried to listen to each other in a new way. In the sacred space within our hearts, we became silent in order to understand what each of the participants wanted to express and formulate. Through this approach, we found the melody that came from God so we would be able to share.

We were silent before the unfamiliar realities, the challenges we faced, the sadnesses and joys and the small victories. It was a Cenacle experience because there was no judgment. Silence in the face of realities did not make us indifferent, it set us on our way. Synodal silence allowed us to make sense of everything we heard. And together we decided that we want to embrace the coming times of the Church following the style of the synodal dialogue.

A summary of those special days

Here is a brief summary of the Congress.

The welcome and opening was given by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, who spoke about the future with hope.

“Let us open ourselves, then, to young people and let us also open ourselves to the future with hope! A great task has been entrusted to them.” The Holy Father describes it with powerful words, and with these words I conclude my speech. The Pope says: “Young people, do not give up the best of your youth, do not look at life from the balcony […] Make yourselves heard! Put away the fears that paralyze you, do not become mummified young people. Live! Give yourselves to the best of life”.

Pope francis
Mrs. Rosana with Pope Francis

Mary left without delay

Cardinal Américo Manuel Alves Aguiar thanked the Dicastery for all its support in the preparation of WYD.

He also said that we look back to WYD23 and we can see how much of God’s life emerged in each young person who participated. All the efforts and dedication by society, the Church and the Movements in the preparation and realization of WYD23 have received the gratitude of the Church and a great appreciation.

On the way to the Jubilee 2025

One of the main themes was the invitation for the whole Church to celebrate the Jubilee of Rome 2025. Msgr. Salvatore Fisichella, of the Dicastery for Evangelization, said: “We think of hope as something that is always directed toward the future. Hope is not an evasion. What the future is going to be is already present now. Hope is already in us; it was given to us in Baptism. It is the life of God in us.

WYD Seoul 2027

With great emotion and joy, Archbishop Peter Chung, Archbishop of Seoul, challenged the young people to participate in WYD27. For him, WYD is a pilgrimage in which young people define their journey and their community.

WYD has always been held in Christian countries. This is the first time that WYD will be held in a non-Catholic country. Therefore, this WYD is considered to be missionary. The preparation has four key words: encounter, ministry, pilgrimage, mission.

Msgr. Peter Chung said: “We can find hope. World Youth Day Seoul 2027 will light a fire in our hearts, transforming us. I believe you will meet Jesus in Korea and your hearts will burn with faith. I invite you to join us in Korea to begin a new pilgrimage of faith together.”
Translation: Maribel Acaron


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