What follows is the introduction to the guiding document on youth ministry for the Oblates of St. Joseph, entitled Step by Step. We believe it summarizes well the hopes we have for the young people of our time and the commitment we feel to helping them grow closer to the Lord.
We, the Oblates of St. Joseph, love and esteem you, we believe in you and, along with you, we want to build a world that is more human and dignified. We want to dream with you, to live together with you.
With St. Peter we want to say to you: “I have neither silver nor gold, but that which I have I give to you: in the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, walk” (Acts 3:6). We do not have money to give to you, nor power, nor a life free from suffering; but that which we have in our hearts we give to you willingly: we give you Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the world.
When the Holy Spirit inspired the young priest from Asti, Fr. Joseph Marello, to found our Congregation, he placed in his heart the “passion” for youth, most of all those in need of help of whatever kind. This passion has been inherited by his “spiritual children”. Because of this, you are important and dear to us. In our Constitutions (art. 65) we read: “The Congregation walks along the way of God and according to the directives of the Founder if it succeeds in forming members capable of inspiring and educating youth.
In 1998, in Curitiba, Brazil, the First International Congress for Oblate Youth Ministry was held. On that occasion we asked ourselves what were the “ways” in which we could find out youth, and what strategies could we employ to feel closer to each other. “Novos Caminhos” was the beautiful and profound document that gathered together the hopes, disappointments, and proposals of the Congress participants at that time. In August of 2005 in Asti, the Second International Congress was held. It was determined that there had been some steps forward, but there was still a long way to go in order to make “history” with you.
Dear young people, “step by step” we will do it, because it is our wish to go forward with you in this third millennium that we have just begun. You are at the center of our interests. In fact, the these of our next General Chapter is: “The Children of Marello, True Disciples of Christ, at the Service of the Youth”. Youth Ministry is the number one apostolate of the Oblates of St. Joseph.
This book that we present to you contains the reflections and that which was sown in the hearts of the congress participants in Asti. They wanted to define the general principles of our Oblate Youth Ministry, indicating the particular Josephite-Marellian spiritual aspects, in harmony with the way of the Universal and local Church. There were beautiful moments of fellowship, and a true youthful joy that was lived during those days, because everyone was convinced of belonging to the same family of St. Joseph Marello. May the Mother of Jesus and the Carpenter of Nazareth, along with our Holy Founder, cause the seeds sown in our hearts and in yours to grow.
Together we want to be “true disciples of Jesus Christ” and help others to feel intimately joined to us, not with extraordinary gestures, but only a daily basis. Young people, let us have our feet on the ground and dreams in our hearts, and step by step follow behind Jesus.
Fr. Michele Piscopo
General Director of Youth Ministry