Having worked in a Jesuit school, the author observes that many students are slowly deviating from their faith as early as in Grade School, because they are not being guided, inspired or accompanied by their elders. Moreover, Catholic beliefs, teachings and practices that are taught in school are not being continued or deepened at home. Especially in this time of COVID-19 pandemic when personal encounters are limited, the author believes that there is an urgent call for the Church to evangelize and accompany the youth all the more.
These important observations help focus on the major questions: “How does Pope Francis’ vision of integral evangelization relate to the evangelization of the youth today, as seen in Christus Vivit? What are some pastoral implications in the Philippine context and more concretely, in the Diocese of Cubao’s youth formation program?” The author, then, pursues to seek answers to these questions from these sources: Evangelii Gaudium—Francis’ major document on evangelization, Christus Vivit—a post-synodal apostolic exhortation which is a response to the 2018 Synod on Youth, and Francis’ thoughts on cultivating a “Culture of Encounter.”
Through these, the author presents five key themes of integration that emerged in the study. After each theme, pastoral implications in the Philippine context are given, and in order to amplify the integrity of this research, a presentation and evaluation of the Diocese of Cubao’s youth formation program (2020-2022) will be explored. In conclusion, the author emphasizes that a missionary and synodal Church, a ministry of presence and encounter, and being sensitive to the signs of the times are important elements of youth evangelization.