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Discussion shares Christus Vivit and how to connect it to diocesan youth ministry

Christus local guy

Paul Jarzembowsk (left) is joined by Fr. Joao Chagas, Responsible for Youth/Young Adults at the Vatican national and other youth and young adult ministry coordinators who attended the Post-Synod Forum (June 2019) in Rome. The international forum included leaders from North America, Africa, Oceania, Asia, and Europe. (provided photo)



Northwest Indiana Catholic


      CROWN POINT – A presentation and discussion on how young Catholics in the Diocese of Gary can embrace the message of Pope Francis that “Christ is Alive” for them will be hosted this month by the diocesan Office for Youth and Young Adults and St. Matthias parish.

      Set for 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25 at St. Matthias, the “Pope Francis and NWI: Connecting Christus Vivit with the Diocese of Gary” will feature Paul and Sarah Jarzembowski, who are touring the U.S. to spread the word about the pope’s response to the October 2018 Vatican synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.

      Paul Jarzembowski, a Dyer native and an Andrean High School and Valparaiso University graduate, is the assistant director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C., while Sarah Jarzembowski is the Archdiocese of Washington’s coordinator for College Campus and Young Adult Ministries.

      “Paul is really, really excited to bring this presentation back to his home diocese,” said Vicky Hathaway, diocesan consultant for Youth and Young Adults. “He attended the synod and was instrumental in making sure that young voices from the U.S. were heard – sending out surveys and connecting young people to the synod work. He’s very happy to share what took place and how it can be effective.”

      The synod involved the pope, bishops and young people from around the globe, including U.S. delegate Jonathan Lewis, assistant secretary for Pastoral Ministry and Social Concerns for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., sharing stories, listening to each other and discussing the most pressing issues facing young people today.

      Following that 2018 synod, Pope Francis wrote an Apostolic Exhortation or letter of response, Christus Vivit (Christ is Alive!), reflecting upon his time at the synod and what he heard and observed, and sharing his advice for how the Church can help young people realize that they, and not just older Catholics, are responsible for forwarding the work of the Church. “Pope Francis also reminded everyone that the Church is a family of believers, each needing the other,” Hathaway explained.

      “Everyone is welcome to attend, young people to find some inspiration and be reminded that they are also called to build up the Church, and older generations to share in that responsibility and to be inspired with hope, fresh ideas and new perspective from young people,” she added. “People in the parishes may get some ideas about how to revitalize their parishes and be more welcoming to young people.”

      Paul Jarzembowski said that Christus Vivit offers “a message for the whole Church, not just youth and young adult ministries – though that is certainly a key element in the mix.”

      Following the presentation on Christus Vivit, an open discussion and reflection will be held on “What does this document mean for us and how should we respond?” Hathaway said. There are plans to live stream the program on the Diocese of Gary Facebook page and record it for those who cannot attend and want to watch it later.

      “We hope anyone who wants to learn how to make the Church a more communal and welcoming place will join us,” Hathaway added.

      There is no cost to attend, but refreshments will be served, so those attending are asked to register at or by calling Hathaway at 769-9292, ext. 229.


Christus pope

Paul Jarzembowski is introduced to Pope Francis by Cardinal DiNardo outside the Synod Hall near the Vatican while attending the Synod on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment in October 2018. (provided photo)

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