Jesus Youth is an international Catholic youth movement with a charismatic spirituality. It had its beginnings in Kerala (India), but is now active in nearly 25 different countries around the world.
Jesus Youth is an initiative of young people themselves, who, filled with the Holy Spirit try to reach out to other young people. The strength of the movement is its special focus on a life centered on the Lord Jesus Christ: beginning with an experience of God nourished by prayer, the Word of God, the sacraments and fellowship, and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with others.
Though not an actual community, Jesus Youth is a network of small but vibrant groups of young people. In their own life situations, they strive to give time to the Lord, responding to the challenges of today’s world in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Charismatic Renewal swept through the churches of the picturesque state of Kerala (India) in the late 1970s, touching the hearts of young people, leading to the formation of youth groups. In the early 80s, these groups grew rapidly and in 1985, the International Year for Youth, these groups came together with a single name: Jesus Youth, seeking a clearer vision for themselves and for the wider participation of young people in the Church.
Over the years the movement has grown and developed, to other parts of India in the 1990s and later to different parts of the world.
Jesus Youth is active in nearly 25 countries and has a national network and a definite infrastructure in countries like USA, Canada, Italy, Ireland, UK, Germany, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. There are regional teams and groups in countries like Austria, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Cambodia.
In India, Jesus Youth has an active presence in more than 140 areas covering every state of India except Himachal Pradesh.
Jesus Youth members seek to grow as faithful disciples of Christ, through the six pillars of the movement.
Daily Prayer: A daily ‘quiet time’ with the Lord leading to an experience of the companionship of Jesus, enables one to have a joyful attitude in daily life.
Word of God: A regular time for a meditative reading of the Sacred Scripture helps one to seek God’s guidance and shape his life according to God’s will.
Sacraments: Frequent and active participation in the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation contributes to a life of wholeness and strength and are integral to a person’s growth in holiness.
Fellowship: Christian life, a call to live the life of the Trinity in communion with one’s brothers and sisters in Christ through mutual support, encouragement and gentle correction, is an important element in the movement. Cells, small groups, prayer groups, service teams and friendship circles help to make Jesus Youth a family.
Service: Following the footsteps of the Master who brought the Good News to the poor, Jesus Youth stretches out a helping hand to those burdened with poverty and deprivation.
Evangelisation: Personal renewal in Jesus leads to a commitment to share the person and message of Jesus with others. This commitment to evangelisation is central to the life of every Jesus Youth.
Individual spiritual direction and various Jesus Youth Formation Programmes also contribute to a member’s faithful discipleship and growth in holiness.
Distinguishing characteristics of the Movement
In Jesus Youth, a variety of support systems have evolved to foster continued growth in Christian commitment.
A Jesus Youth group exists in a locality (parish, institution, work site, etc.) and is comprised of a number of cells and small groups and is coordinated by a Core Team. A Zonal Team co-ordinates the Jesus Youth groups and ministries in a zonal area.
A number of zones or a state constitutes a region and it is co-ordinated by a Regional Jesus Youth Team. At the national level, the co-ordination is done by the National Team and the Jesus Youth International Team co-ordinates all these National Teams.
Being a Catholic movement, Jesus Youth is accountable to the Catholic Hierarchy of each area and functions under the guidance of the local Catholic Bishops.
The selection of a Jesus Youth Team is the result of a process of discernment by a Discerning Community, guided by a Discernment Team. The whole process is done in a spirit of prayer and confidentiality to facilitate the work of the Holy Spirit and the building up of the Christian Community.
On 29th October 2008, Jesus Youth received the approval from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) and His Grace Archbishop Abraham Viruthakulangara was appointed as the Ecclesiastical Advisor.
The process of being recognised as an ‘International Private Association of Christian Faithful of Pontifical Right’ officially began on 24th August 2009 with the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
POSITIONING IN THE CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC RENEWAL
Officially, Jesus Youth is a member of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships – an international private association of members of the faithful having juridical personality in accordance with Canon 322 of the Code of Canon Law.
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Jesus Youth International Office
6F, Thadikaran Centre
Palarivattom, Cochin- 682 025
+91 484 405 4870, +91 484 405 4371
This document was last updated on March 31, 2013