Joseph Edward San José, right, of Catholic Christian Outreach in Burnaby, B.C., here with Kathleen-Rosebelle Diaz during this summer’s youth synod followup, has been appointed to the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life’s new International Youth Advisory Board. Photo courtesy of Kathleen-Rosebelle Diaz

Canadian joins dicastery’s new youth advisory board

By  Paige Hanley, Catholic News Service
  • November 25, 2019

VATICAN CITY -- The Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life announced it is setting up a specialized team of 20 young Catholic leaders, including Canadian Joseph Edward San José, as advisors to help with youth ministry issues.

The new international advisory body was established following a proposal in the final document of the 2018 Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment. The Vatican made the announcement Nov. 24, the feast of Christ the King.

The Youth Advisory Body consists of 20 young leaders who participated in the various phases of the synodal process, including the international youth forum in June, and who are active in Catholic lay movements, associations, communities or their respective dioceses. The first meeting of the board is scheduled for April in Rome.

“The group will have an important consultative and proposal-making role to play. They will assist the dicastery with issues related to youth ministry and other topics of more general interest,” the dicastery said on its website,

The new members, who will serve a three-year term, include San José of Catholic Christian Outreach in Burnaby, B.C. San José was one of the more than 250 youth from 109 nations who participated this past summer in the followup and implementation phase of ideas generated during the youth synod held in October 2018. He found at the Vatican forum “a lot of hunger and desire” to journey through Christus Vivit, the post-synodal apostolic exhortation, in their own churches.

“Young people are the centre of the Church and young people are not the future of the Church, they’re the now,” San José told The Register upon his return from Rome. “One of the things that’s emphasized over again in the apostolic exhortation is the fact that Jesus Himself was a young person. In the eyes of today’s world, as a 30-year-old when He began His ministry, He was a young adult.”

Other members of the advisory body include Brenda Noriega of the United States, Natalia Garcia Jimenex of Puerto Rico and Ashleigh Green of Australia.

Green, 28, was the Australian delegate at preparatory meetings for the Synod of Bishops and works at CatholicCare, the social welfare agency of the Archdiocese of Sydney.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be given such a platform in the Church. I am committed to using it well — not for my benefit, but for the young people of Oceania and beyond,” she said in an interview with the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference Nov. 24.

“I will continue to make a case for a Church that engages young people who are disconnected and marginalized,” she said, adding, “We now have the wisdom of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Christus Vivit to draw upon, which speaks to the dignity of all young people, but particularly young people who are hurt and suffering.”

The synod final document called for a “participatory and co-responsible Church” that values the different charisms and gifts of its members.

“The synod asks that the active participation of the young become effective and ordinary in places of co-responsibility in the particular churches,” in national bishops’ episcopal conferences and the universal Church, the document said.

The synod “also asks that the activity of the office for the young in the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life be strengthened, not least through the constitution of” a structure to represent the young at an international level.

(With Register files)

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