In the mid 1970s the flame of the Charismatic Renewal spread to India and to Kerala, the southernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent. The wave of the Holy Spirit gave rise to several youth groups where catholic youth encountered Jesus and the Gospel in a renewed and refreshing way. Gradually these groups began to connect to each other and in 1985, these youth groups came together for a large conference. The conference was called ‘Jesus Youth 85’ and the young people who attended the conference began to call themselves “Jesus Youth”.
These young people shared their experiences to those around, and as they moved into universities, schools, workplaces and cities, they continued to spread the exciting news of Jesus – forming prayer groups and cell groups. The spirituality, approach and creativity of the young people began to spread as a lifestyle. As many among them travelled to different countries, they carried their Jesus Youth lifestyle along with them, leading to the formation of Jesus Youth groups around the world. Today Jesus Youth is present in over 25 countries around the world.
Jesus Youth Germany
Jesus Youth in Germany had its beginning in 2005 with few members coming together as a preparation for the World Youth Day in Koln. The World Youth Day indeed brought a fresh awakening of the faith in the youth across Germany and many youth were attracted to the charisms of the movements. Frequent retreats called Crossroads became a signature of the movement where the joy of the gospel was spread to young all across Germany. Ever since, the Holy Spirit has been guiding the movement to inspire individuals and teams to share the Love and Hope they experience in Christ to others through all possible ways.
Prayer meetings sprang up in different parts of Germany where the youth gathered together to build each other up in faith. Retreats, Summer camps, 40 Hour Adorations, Daily Zoom Rosary are some of the few initiatives that bore fruit and strengthened the movement. The formation programs help the members to systematically grow in their faith. One can now see Jesus Youth gatherings all across Germany especially in major cities like Hamburg, Berlin, Mannheim, Munich and Cologne, but the youth are there even in the most remote corners living their lifestyle based on the six pillars and giving testimony to their faith.
Jesus Youth Spirituality
At the heart of the movement is a daily ‘quiet time’ with the Lord that leads to an experience of a loving friendship with Jesus and fosters a joyful attitude to life. A diverse series of reflections and contemporary prayer formats that have evolved from everyday life help spark off and sustain a life of prayer within the movement.
2. Word of God
A regular time for a meditative reading of the Sacred Scripture has always been part of the Jesus Youth way of life. It helps people to shape their lives according to God’s will. Thus they also acquire the ability to seek God’s guidance through the continuous study of the Word of God. Jesus Youth are expected to read the scripture everyday, meditate on it and live the essence of Scripture in their daily lives.
3. The Sacraments
The very mission of Jesus Youth movement is to be at the service of the Church, the body of Christ. Thus participating fully in the Sacramental life of the Catholic Church is a sign of its communion with the Church. Frequent and active participation in the sacraments contribute to a life of grace and holiness. Jesus Youth are specifically encouraged to draw strength and renewal from the frequent celebration of the Eucharist and their regular participation in the sacrament of Reconciliation.
Jesus Youth are known for the deep spiritual friendships and sustained life of communion experienced through mutual support of each other, encouragement, healing and fraternal correction. These are made possible through the frequent gatherings of cell groups, prayer groups, Jesus Youth Households and the diverse sets of friendship circles within the movement.
Convinced that Jesus is the greatest gift they have received, Jesus Youth seek to share Jesus with others in genuine, simple or innovative ways every day. Taking their cue from the exhortations of the Church, young people in the movement encourage each other to use their talents and strengths for the sharing of the love, the person and the message of Christ, especially in the ordinary circumstances of life. Every initiative, platform or project of the movement is rooted in fulfilling the commission of Jesus to carry the good news to the ends of the earth. This joyful experience of evangelisation is the central part of every Jesus Youth.
6. Option for the poor
In today’s world that is progressively being designed for the affluent and the influential, Jesus Youth are encouraged to stand by, support and help the poor, the sidelined and the marginalised in the societies they live in. They are called to discover the image of the Suffering Christ in the poor. Out of the love of Christ, they identify with those burdened with poverty and deprivation and stretch out a helping hand to them in the spirit of solidarity.