Pope Francis’ document can be found on this link at the Vatican site. We’re in the middle of it, and getting deeper into a long chapter on youth ministry. Picking up on the theme of a meeting place, we read:
218. Along these lines, our institutions should provide young people with places they can make their own, where they can come and go freely, feel welcome and readily meet other young people, whether at times of difficulty and frustration, or of joy and celebration. Some of this is already happening in oratories and other youth centers, which in many cases offer a friendly and relaxed setting where friendships can grow, where young men and women can meet one another, where they can share music, games, sports, but also reflection and prayer. In such places, much can be offered, without great expenditure of funds. Then too, the person-to-person contact indispensable for passing on the message can happen, something whose place cannot be taken by any pastoral resource or strategy.
For legal minors in the US, the issues around safety in such spaces has become an issue. The pope is correct that an empty space left for young people to populate is a good thing, an open invitation. American young people moved on to malls in the 80s and now into cyberspace. Physical spaces? It would have to be good. Any comments?
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