SAN BERNARDINO—Diocesan Young Adult Ministry Coordinator Brenda Noriega continues to be invited to participate in groups and events at the Vatican level.
She is one of 20 young adult ministers from around the world to be named to a new Youth Advisory Body that is being established by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life. The new group was announced Nov. 24, the feast of Christ the King.
“The group will have an important consultative and proposal-making role to play. They will assist the dicastery with issues related to youth ministry and other topics of more general interest,” the dicastery said on its website.
Noriega was likely included following her participation last summer in the Vatican’s International Forum of Youth and Young Adults, a post-synodal conversation on Pope Francis’ latest Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit. The proposal to establish the Advisory Body came out of the Vatican Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.
“I accept this calling with the mindset that I have a lot to learn from those who I represent and my brothers and sisters who have been selected,” Noriega said. “My main role is to be their voice but most importantly, to be a bridge between communities.
“This consultative body is modeling the difference between letting young people talk and listening to young people. When we listen, we make changes. Our voices were heard during the Synod process and now the Vatican is responding less than 13 months after the Synod.”
Noriega has had two opportunities to meet and briefly talk with Pope Francis, first at World Youth Day in Panama in January of 2019 and then in June at the Vatican Forum. She said she will carry the Holy Father’s message of inclusion to her work on the new advisory body.
“I would like to be intentional raising the voices of all young people in the United States, especially those in the peripheries of ministry like African Americans and others of African descent, Asian Pacific and Native American communities, the incarcerated and the immigrants and refugees.”
The first meeting of the International Youth Advisory Board is scheduled for April in Rome.