Jesus Youth is an International Catholic Youth Movement with a charismatic spirituality. The Movement evolved as an outcome of the Charismatic revival that spread across India in the mid-1970s. The movement invites its youth to follow a lifestyle considered to be based on the life of Jesus Christ, based on what it calls 'six pillars'.
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 Jesus Youth Movement has its origin in Kerala, a state in the southern part of India. In 1985, the International Youth Year, many young people from different parts of the state came together for a three-day Youth Conference titled 'Jesus Youth Conference'. After the conference, the youth who participated in this conference began to be identified as a 'Jesus Youth'. Five years after the movement started, in the 1990s, Jesus Youth began to spread to other parts of India. Gradually, many Jesus Youth who traveled abroad for employment spread the movement in many other Asian countries including South East Asia and in the Middle East. As of 2014[update] it was also active in Australia, New Zealand, various parts of Europe such as United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Ireland, etc., and in the North American Continent, namely United States and Canada.
On 29 October 2008, Jesus Youth received approval from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) and 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 24 August 2009 with the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
The six pillars
The Jesus Youth movement is known for its spirituality that promotes an active Catholic life style that is relevant to a young lay person facing the challenges of today. The Six "pillars of Spirituality" on which the Jesus Youth movement is based on are:
A daily ‘quiet time’ with the Lord is fundamental in the life of every member of Jesus Youth. This personal prayer leads to an experience of loving friendship with Jesus, fostering a joyful attitude and creative approach to daily life.
Word of God
A regular time for a meditative reading of the Sacred Scripture helps to shape one’s life according to God’s will. In this way the person acquires the ability to seek God’s guidance through the continuous study of the Word of God. Members should read and meditate on the scriptures i.e. the Bible.
There seven Sacraments in the Catholic Church. Frequent and active participation in the sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation are a pillar. Frequent and active participation in the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation contributes to a life of wholeness and strength, and aims at growth in holiness so as to fulfill the mission.
Christian life is 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. Cells, prayer groups, vocational groups and various Service Teams (ST), and friendship circles help to make Jesus Youth a family.
Fruit of an active life with Jesus is a joyful commitment to witnessing, sharing the person and message of Jesus with others. This commitment to evangelisation is central to the life of every member of Jesus Youth.
Willingness to serve those in need and a preferential option for the poor are the signs of a true disciple of Jesus Christ. 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.
Jesus Youth ministries are founded on a firm spiritual basis and flourish in the context of growing fellowships. The formation teams gather together to develop the ministry and engage in the apostolate, provide mutual support and promote spiritual growth.
With the vision of sharing the faith and building a witnessing community, Jesus Youth has developed various ministries for its members. A Jesus Youth ministry is usually the initiative of an individual or a small fellowship, and normally tries to share Jesus in a particular context, using one’s talent or charism. These initiatives gradually grow into ministries of Jesus Youth. While helping young people to come together and grow in fellowship, these ministries also prepare youth to embrace the Gospel in their daily life and to proclaim the Gospel to others.
Each ministry has a co-ordinating team and a set of formation and outreach programmes. In Jesus Youth there are a number of ministries focusing on different areas such as: i) Formation, ii) The context of life, iii) Talent and iv) Outreach
Jesus Youth ministries include:
- Audio Visual Ministry
- Media Ministry
- Campus Ministry
- Teens Ministry
- Nurses Ministry
- Angels' Army
- Doctors Ministry
- Prolife Ministry
- Professional Ministry
- Parish Ministry
- Intercession Ministry
- Outreach Ministry
- Medical Engineering Students Ministry
- Music Ministry
Full Time volunteers
Jesus Youth Fulltimership is a year-long formation program for graduates with 40 days training and one year full-time missionary commitment to work in different parts of the world.
After 40 days of intensive training they are commissioned for a one-year formation through a missionary placement and thus prepared for a lifelong Christian commitment, to be the living witnesses of Jesus in a radical way.
It started in 1991 when a Jesus Youth got an inner call to commit life completely for one year to be a missionary in Jesus Youth movement. He left behind his academics and career for the service of the Lord. After consultation of the inner plan with the leaders and elders of the movement he launched himself into this new journey, visiting places, touching the lives of people and challenging young minds in campuses and parishes across the Indian state of Kerala.
When Jesus's Disciples heard His call, they responded to it wholeheartedly. They left all that they had, all their wealth and even their professions, and followed Jesus. This was a call to be with this great Master, to lead a brand new life and later to be sent out to a mission of touching and transforming the heart of so many. John, James, Peter and every one of those followed Jesus had such a personal history of being called and offering a response in a life changing manner.
Today Hundreds of young people today repeat a similar story of discipleship and this new-found, yet very ancient path called “Jesus Youth – Fulltimership”.
The Rexband is the musical outreach of Jesus Youth. It is one of the premier contemporary Christian bands. The band has performed widely, across India and in many parts of the world, over the last 20 years. It has also brought out a dozen albums. It was the first band from India to be invited by the Holy Father to perform for the World Youth Day.
The signature sound of the band is a fusion of contemporary pop and Indian classical music. A Journey through the most recent Rexband album would take one through styles as varied as swing/ jazz, slow rock and pop to ethnic Indian music. It is quite a curious mix by any standards. This mix has naturally evolved from the pot pourri of musicians including Hindustani, Carnatic, pop, rock and hip hop. Though this diversity makes it quite difficult to pin down a specific style of music to the band, the essence of its music has always centered around contemporary popular music with an unmistakable ethnic Indian flavour.
In the late 80s and early 90s, a group of young musicians in India experienced a life changing encounter with Jesus through Jesus Youth Movement. These musicians, coming from diverse musical environments ranging from contemporary pop to ethnic Indian music began to seek a way to use their talents to express the joy and peace of Jesus.
And out of the movement, a new musical outreach was born. As the group grew in fellowship and commitment, they took on the name ‘Rexband’ from the Latin phrase 'Christus Rex’ - Christ the King, becoming the musical expression of the Jesus Youth movement. After over two decades, the band has travelled more than 15 countries across Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States, reaching out to tens of thousands of young men and women through contemporary music with the message of true peace.
Young people are known for their energy and zeal to reach out and change lives around them. Outreach is a secular non-political network of committed young people offers the right opportunity for young people to do that. Here on this network youth and youth workers from a variety of backgrounds have joined together to reach out to the under privileged in the society. Together, they present a challenge for young people around the globe to reach out to the needy and build a better world.
The targeted beneficiaries are school students of families from extremely poor background and who are in need of a helping hand. Unlike mass support projects, a case by case verification (through volunteers) of each request is carried out before confirming the support. Thus it ensured that the contributions will be channelled and used in a proper manner. Through project Outreach – Child Support, the holistic development of a child and his/her family, building up of a better society is aimed. The child being the future support of the family, and the family being the basic unit of a society, supporting the child will create a ripple effect in the community. The team believes that education is the most empowering aspect of an individual which will equip a child to contribute positively to the community as well as to the nation.