Christ is Alive!
The post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit by Pope Francis, was signed on March 25, 2019, in the Holy House of Loreto and addressed to young people and the entire People of God. It is a response to the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.
In the document, composed of nine chapters divided into 299 paragraphs, the Pope explains that he allowed himself to be “inspired by the wealth of reflections and conversations of the Synod” on young people, celebrated in the Vatican in October 2018.
The title of the document, Christus Vivit, highlights Pope Francis’ desire to have a Christocentric focus with his audience. Throughout the exhortation, he constantly invites the young to an encounter and friendship with Jesus. As the Holy Father pastorally states, “No matter how much you live the experiences of these years of your youth, you will never know their deepest and fullest meaning unless you encounter each day your best friend, the friend who is Jesus” (CV, 150).
The document is reflected in its title, “Christ is alive!” (CV, 124). The pope presents with joy the central truth of the Christian faith: Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and offers us eternal life. True to the kerygma proclamation, Pope Francis states, “Every other solution will prove inadequate and temporary . . . with Jesus, on the other hand, our hearts experience a security that is firmly rooted and enduring” (CV, 128).
When it comes to growth in the faith, Pope Francis again points to the kerygma. He states that the path to growth includes formation that develops “the kerygma, the foundational experience of encounter with God through Jesus’ death and resurrection” (CV, 213). The pope encourages us to make this formation experiential, rather than a process of indoctrination.
The pope has made it abundantly clear that the kerygma must be present throughout our activity as Church, even as part of our missionary outreach at schools and universities.
Throughout Christus Vivit, Pope Francis not only extols the use of the kerygma in the Church’s ministry to young people but also demonstrates and models what he preaches. Christus Vivit encourages pastoral ministers to engage young people through the proclamation of the Good News more explicitly.