September 2015

UNIVERSAL INTENTION

Opportunities for the Young. That opportunities for education and employment may increase for all young people.

The region with the highest number of unemployed youth (15-24) is the Middle East--over 29 percent.  The region with the next highest rate is Europe, where more than 16 percent of young people are unemployed. In some countries youth unemployment exceeds 50 percent, like Greece and Spain.  

Even in the U.S. and India, where youth unemployment is 16 percent and 10 percent, respectively, many young people are underemployed and lack educational opportunities that would open doors to better jobs.

Speaking to Italian youth last year, Pope Francis said: “It is sad to find ‘neither-nor’ young people….They neither study nor work. Work gives us dignity, and all of us need to do everything possible so as not to lose a generation of young people….A generation without work is a loss for their homeland and for future humanity. We must help one another to find a way of solution, of aid, of solidarity.”

Pope Francis understands that high unemployment among youth is a crisis of the family. “To work means to be able to plan your own future,” he said, “to decide to start a family!”
Pope Francis continued:  “The ‘throw-away culture’ is strong: anything that does not serve profit is cast away. The young are thrown away because they have no work. But like this, the future of a people is thrown away, for the young are the future of the people. And we must say ‘no’ to this ‘throw-away culture.’”

Our prayer this month says “no” to that throw-away culture and “yes” to increased opportunities for education and employment for young people everywhere. For they are truly the future of humanity.

Reflection
How do economic systems that do not place the human person at the center contribute to the culture of death? 
Scripture
Genesis 2: 15 and John 5: 17   The dignity of work by which we follow God’s direction.


EVANGELIZATION INTENTION

Catechists. That catechists may give witness by living in a way consistent with the faith they proclaim.

Pope Francis said: “We need good catechists! …Teaching the faith is something beautiful! To help children, young people, and adults to know and love the Lord more and more is one of the most exciting aspects of education. It builds up the Church!”

This month’s evangelization intention reminds us that how catechists live is at least as important as what they say. Pope Francis said that being a catechist is a “vocation” because it “is something that embraces our whole life. It means leading people to encounter Christ by our words and by our lives.”

Pope Francis continued: “Remember what Benedict XVI said: ‘The Church does not grow by proselytizing; she grows by attracting others.’ And what attracts is our witness. Being a catechist means witnessing to the faith, being consistent in our personal life. This is not easy! We help, we lead others to Jesus with our words and our lives, with our witness. I like to recall what Saint Francis of Assisi used to say to his friars: ‘Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words.’ Words come…but witness comes first: people should see the Gospel, read the Gospel, in our lives.”

At the heart of this witness is prayer. Referring to the image of the vine and branches which Jesus used, Pope Francis said, “If we are joined to him, then we are able to bear fruit. This means remaining attached to him, in him, with him, talking to him. Abide in Jesus!”  
As we pray that the lives of catechists may give witness consistent with the faith they proclaim, we commit ourselves to that same consistency. May our actions never contradict the faith we profess!

Reflection
In what ways am I a living Gospel that others can read?
Scripture
Matthew 21: 28-32  What matters is action not words. 


PRAYER OF THE MONTH

O God, who through human labor never cease to perfect and govern the vast work of creation, listen to the supplication of your people and grant that all men and women may find work that befits their dignity, joins them more closely to one another, and enables them to serve their neighbor. Amen.

--from the Roman Missal