“. . . so that through the liturgy we can experience God.”
This was one of two primary requests that emerged from young people at the Synod on Youth and Vocational Discernment, as reported by Avvenire today. The other was “a new education on the body, on affectivity and sexuality.” These requests emerged during a press conference at which reports on the discussions were disseminated.
The Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, who is a member of Pope Francis’s council of Cardinal advisers (the “C-9”), said he was surprised.
The report did not say why he was surprised. Perhaps he was surprised because the subject of liturgy was not discussed in the English language groups (I found only one slight reference to liturgy, in group C). Liturgy was, however, a subject discussed according to the reports that were made in German and Italian.
One of the Italian discussion groups, which included not only Italians but also representatives from Egypt, Ethiopia, Hungary, Lebanon, Greece, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovakia, Iceland, and Korea, included strong statements on this front. I have highlighted, below, the parts that pertain most closely to liturgy: mystagogy of Christian initiation, envisioning the Church as a people “on the way,” full liturgical participation in richness of the signs, and biblical and mission-oriented homiletics:
Following the articulation of the text, many themes were addressed . . . [including] the courage to rethink the paths of initiation not only in cognitive but also and above all mystagogical terms, with the underlining of the gradual entry into a people of believers on the way; the overcoming of a rather anonymous and faded ecclesial face, especially in the West, with the invitation to present a visible and joyful face; the encouragement to propose a catechesis that, without eliminating “private” religiosity, makes people grow in the awareness of being a biblical people on the way; the urge to live a liturgy more and more attractive not in the outward sense, but with a participation full of sign language and the richness of the content; the revival of the homily as an opportunity to touch the hearts of people with the clear reference to the biblical text and the consequent orientation to the personal and community mission.
Seguendo l’articolazione del testo sono stati affrontati molti temi: . . . il coraggio di ripensare i percorsi di iniziazione non solo in termini conoscitivi ma anche e soprattutto mistagogici, con la sottolineatura dell’ingresso graduale in un popolo di credenti in cammino; il superamento di un volto ecclesiale piuttosto anonimo e sbiadito, specie in Occidente, con l’invito a presentare un volto visibile e gioioso; l’incoraggiamento a proporre una catechesi che, senza eliminare la religiosità “privata”, faccia crescere le persone nella consapevolezza di essere popolo biblico in cammino; lo stimolo a vivere una liturgia sempre più attrattiva non nel senso esteriore, ma con una partecipazione pregna di tutto il linguaggio dei segni e con la ricchezza del contenuto; la riproposta dell’omelia come occasione per toccare il cuore delle persone con il chiaro riferimento al testo biblico e il conseguente orientamento alla missione personale e comunitaria.
The report concluded with a beautiful reference to the Easter Vigil, which is hard to translate, but which praises the “perfume” of Christ that is spread freely on the dreams of new generations of Christians. There were clearly some poets and mystagogues in this group!
L’elenco incompleto dei temi si presenta alla seconda parte del testo con la forte attesa dell’abbondanza del profumo di Cristo, quello che celebriamo nella veglia pasquale e che lo Spirito diffonde liberamente sulle nuove generazioni. Profumo di Cristo nei sogni e nelle inquietudini con cui i giovani ci fanno entrare in un presente che è già futuro.