I read an article on youth in a Catholic monthly which spoke of youth and their faith. Speaking of youth and their faith is, of course, not the same as speaking of youth and the Faith but this fact seems routinely to escape the educational professionals.
Every single person I know has their faith but only a few have the Faith. Youth are no exception.
In a climate which elevates 'listening to youth' to a status higher than preaching the Gospel, I would submit that teachers would do much better to develop, not 'structures which give life to the voice of youth', as the author purposes, but structures which give life to the voice of Jesus to youth.
The author is very excited. There will be - welcoming, nurturing, affirming, listening, promoting, developing, connecting (and reconnecting) - the only trouble being that the subject and object of each of these verbs is the same – the people. We are going to do all these things to one another, and the youth will be doing it to each other too – an orgy of 'ministry' (I'm beginning to despise the word) in which the power of God seems to have been intentionally sidelined!
According to the article they are even going to promote better liturgies!
Pardon the emphatic voice but I say: Youth do not need better liturgies, they need better catechesis! Priests are not entertainers, and Mass is not entertainment. Its relevance is not in how enjoyable it is. Better liturgies pit one priest against another. “Oh, Fr Jake’s Masses are better than Fr Joe’s!”
Instead of noisy, self-conscious involvement we should be leading youth to the joy of authentic participation in communal worship: listening and responding, recollection, self-giving, awe, silence, gratitude - and an ability to see the supernatural presence in the human frailty and shortcomings of the congregation and the priest, and in the appearance of the Sacred Host.