Dare to be different is the theme of the Generation S archdiocesan vocations campaign. What is Generation S? Generation S signifies Generation of Service, and is represented in a logo designed by a Confirmation student, one of several entries in a logo design contest.
It is important that as catechists, especially Confirmation and youth catechists, that we understand the context of Generation S. The Catholic Church is a service-oriented Church and members of the Christian community are expected to live as Acts 2:42 tells us, “faithful to the teachings of the apostles, the common life of sharing, the breaking of the bread and prayers”. We must recognise the needs of our brothers and sisters and try to provide for them. This is the reason that the Church is involved in corporal works of mercy.
In preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation, young Catholics are learning how to become part of the Church and how to reach out to those in need. The Generation S Assembly held at Preysal Secondary School on October 23 was geared towards helping these young Catholics to become aware of the different ways in which they can serve. The booths set up by the various orders of priests and nuns helped in this regard.
Fr Clyde Harvey and Sr Renée Hall OP brought out the humanness of priests and nuns. The feedback indicated that the young people enjoyed their presentation which offered them an open door to be themselves. Fr Harvey shared that “he was still learning about himself and that it was important to learn about ourselves”. Quite a few young people said they were really touched by those words and sometimes they feel as though they do not know who they are or are supposed to be. Confirmation programmes should help the candidates learn about themselves.
Many young people are excited about becoming part of this Generation of Service but it is up to the catechists to encourage, guide, support and create fora for service. The candidates should be taught in context, that is, they should be looking at their environment and responding in a positive way, carving out spaces for themselves and others as they take part in the Confirmation programme.
Catechists need to be on board with the Generation S mandate. Not all our children will be priests and nuns and we must know that God will call some into married life and single life. It is important to emphasise that we are all called into service. This is something for which we can take responsibility in our community and, no matter how small our action, it contributes to the building of God’s kingdom.
To learn the kingdom attitudes and to live the Beatitudes, children must experience life in community. If we try to teach kingdom attitudes without providing experiences, children will not fully appreciate the values and attitudes we are trying to impart. Service and community experiences will help them to face the real challenges of discipleship and so help build their character as they seek to overcome these challenges. Generation S provides a vehicle and forum to deliver this experience.
If we are catechists of service and community, then our actions, not words, will do a better job of teaching. We must understand the sacredness of human connectivity and why we are called to respond in love and how we are nourished by the Eucharist. Through this service, many will want to commit their lives totally to this work of God and so answer His call to priesthood and religious life. Catechists, we are the channels through which the voice of God will be heard. We must take Generation S seriously and guide our children with love, encouragement and honesty. Let us help them dare to be different.
– Bernadette Gopaul-Ramkhalawan