Austria: “Listening to God’s young people”, Vienna meeting of the Youth Ministry Conference of Central Europe
An international youth pastoral networking meeting was held in Vienna over the weekend: the Central European Youth Pastoral Conference (MEKT) brought together over 100 delegates from seven countries (Slovakia, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, as well as guests of the German Catholic Youth Association and the Protestant Youth of Austria). The conference entitled “Listening to the youth of God” mainly concerned the current synodal process of the Catholic Church. Sister Nathalie Becquart, undersecretary of the Synod in the Vatican, who was one of the speakers, asked the young people to “be attentive, to have an open ear for their peers, to listen to the Holy Spirit together with them and also to listen to each other to work successfully as a team”. The meeting was also characterized by cross-border meetings and in small groups, with an “intense exchange of contents”: “strangers have become friends”, reported today Bernhard Birklbauer, federal president of the Austrian Catholic Youth (KJ), in a Press release. Pastoral projects from various countries were presented: Father Branislav Koch, head of youth pastoral care in Slovakia, spoke of the positive effects that the 2018 Vatican Synod for young people had on youth pastoral care in his country. The Austrian “bishop of the youth”, Msgr. Stephan Turnovszky, who celebrated the concluding Eucharist on Sunday, at the beginning of the assembly had indicated the need for a synodal youth ministry based on biblical texts, recalling that the Apostles “were almost insurmountably different, since in their ranks there were both a tax collector (Matthew) is a bigoted fanatic (Simon)”: but being on the road with Jesus as the center of their community, they “developed a mutual understanding”, said the bishop.