Members of the Fœderatio Internationalis Juventutem (FIJ) work for the sanctification of youth – both at the triennial World Youth Days as well as in the local dioceses and parishes.
Members of international Juventutem federation have an interest in and love of the Traditional Latin Mass – which is also known as the ‘Tridentine Mass,’ the ‘Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite,’ the ‘Gregorian Mass,’ and the ‘usus antiquior’ (older use).
The name ‘Juventutem’ itself is the Latin word for youth and it appears in the opening lines of the traditional Mass.
This is the website of the FIJ. The international Juventutem federation is the official structure gathering all groups and individuals linked with Juventutem throughout the world. Founded on the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians on May 24, 2006 (in Bern, Switzerland), the FIJ enjoys moral personality.
In 2006, there were 31 co-founders originating from 16 countries on every continent: Russia, Germany, Australia, Italy, China, Ireland, Brazil, Great-Britain, France, USA, Hungary, Switzerland, Kenya, Spain, The Netherlands and Austria.
An independent non-political youth structure loyal to Roman Catholic authorities, the Fœderatio Internationalis Juventutem drew inspiration from the International Una Voce Federation as well as from various other Catholic institutions.
The Fœderatio Internationalis Juventutem is a Catholic network fostering the sanctification of the youths worldwide according to the Roman traditions of the Church. We wish to contribute to the sanctification of the members of Juventutem and of any youths who are our contemporaries.
Membership and the commitments that it involves are automatically renewed each year on the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians (24 May), unless a contrary choice is explicitly notified.
When accidentally failing to keep one of his/her commitments, a member does not commit a sin (unless it be out of conscious neglect).
As a lay Catholic organisation, Juventutem does not depend on any particular clerical community or on any political movement.
Communion of saints
Obviously, none of the commitments suggested has been invented by us. They are well-known means of sanctification. But are they as widely used as they are known?
We believe that using those means of sanctification in our capacity of Juventutem members will benefit us better than using them as sheer individuals. Why? As members of a youth network such as Juventutem, we know that throughout the world, there are Catholic youths praying God within His Church like us, for us and with us. We know that they are faced with temptations similar to those we experience when trying to follow Our Blessed Lord and His Holy Church with more generosity. We know that they rely on our own prayer and friendship in order to let God’s grace work through them and bear more abundant fruit. In other words, we experience the “communion of saints” manifest in a framework we have freely chosen.
As baptized young adults, as members of the Mystical Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we already partake in the communion of saints. Like various sodalities, third-orders, and pious societies in Church history, Juventutem only particularizes the universal circulation of graces for a specific group of souls according to specific means, as inspired by the needs felt in new circumstances.
We live in difficult times. Whereas the number of well trained pastors is lowering, worldly means to allure our souls are multiplying. Particularly in so-called “developed countries”, being a Catholic is objectively more difficult nowadays than it used to be some decades ago. We especially, as youths, are targeted by false guides presenting pleasure and independence as an end in itself instead of the only freedom and joy found in answering God’s call to holiness!
Many of our fellow baptized Catholic youths have deserted the churches, have no time for Catholic devotions, and neither seek nor learn sound Catholic doctrine. The liturgy, the doctrine, and the apostolate most of them have been presented with failed to attract their interest. Most modern youths find that too often, those acting in the name of the Catholic Church are not convincing. We can’t see why we would sacrifice various earthly satisfactions to answer an invitation where transcendence does not show.
Thank be to God, there are signs of a renewal. We know for certain that the Lord does not abandon His Church. We give Him thanks for the grace of having been put, without any merit on our part, on board that Ark of salvation governed by our Holy Father Pope Francis.
Our common aspiration as Juventutem members is to draw our sanctification from the traditional liturgy and spirituality of Holy Mother Church. Having discovered what a valuable support the Roman Rite (according to the Missal of Pope St. John XXIII) is to our souls, as well as the doctrinal presentations of the divine truths so eloquently expressed by that very special form of the Roman rite, we desire to use them always more fruitfully. To which end we require the support of prayer, friendship and learning. Those values we expect to use and share through Juventutem, as much as it pleases Our Blessed Lord and His Mother Immaculate. The more we will assimilate the Roman traditions of the Church so as to be sanctified in them, the more God will touch other people through us. Thus we will find our fulfillment in humbly and joyfully helping to forward God’s grace across His creation.
Added on the first three commitments – that anchor each member’s day and week – a meeting of the members should take place on a regular basis. The backbone of the Juventutem activities would seem to be this monthly meeting including an informal meal, a doctrinal talk given by a (sound) cleric, preceded by Holy Mass (whenever the “forma extraordinaria” is made available) and/or followed with Holy Hour. This meeting does naturally not forbid friendly recreation, such as watching together an appropriate film for instance.
Saint Theresa of Avila says that we should have high expectations for holiness. Nothing to do with pride, as we try and do our poor little best, cooperating with God’s almighty grace. Just like us, Juventutem is but a tiny and imperfect tool. We are but a handful of youths spread thin all over the world. Lack of time and of money makes it rather difficult for us to travel across the oceans and meet with each other – though we aspire to do so, when able.
Thanks be to God, we don’t need to invent anything, since Holy Mother Church has everything ready for us. Valuable Roman traditions served by dedicated pastors are becoming more and more appreciated nowadays. Several of us who are still unable to attend the special Roman rite (Roman Missal revised by Pope St. John XXIII in 1962) on a regular basis can nevertheless read a lot about it on the Internet, see pictures and videos, and occasionally, on pilgrimages or other faith gatherings, attend Holy Masses offered in that most venerable liturgy.
Whatever the distances, our mutual prayer and our shared interest for the holy traditions of the Church know no border. If you are young and attracted by the Roman traditions of the Catholic Church, you are welcome to join us, already through prayer. We pray for you.
Beside our individual correspondents in the various countries listed above, we have groups in these countries / places.
The name « Juventutem » was mentioned for the first time on the 24th of May 2004, in correspondence between the founders of Juventutem. May 24th is the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians. Following the victory of Christendom over the Turks at Lepanto, in the Ionian islands (1571), the Pope, St. Pius V, had inserted in the litanies to the Blessed Virgin the invocation to Our Lady Help of Christians. It was also under this title that Pope Pius VII created a feast day, on the 24th of May, in honor of the Virgin Mary, to express his gratitude for deliverance in 1814 from exile and the captivity imposed on him by Napoleon I. 24th May is considered to be the anniversary of Juventutem. The Fœderatio Internationalis Juventutem, was founded at Berne in Switzerland on 24 May 2006.
Juventutem made itself manifest for the first time in August 2005 (in Bavaria and then in Düsseldorf and Cologne) during the triennial World Youth Days. From its inception, however, Juventutem was intended to be a permanent structure with the purpose of sanctifying young traditional Catholics by demonstrating their diversity and vitality in regular activities.
Juventutem was founded in the context of the Year of the Eucharist, decreed and inaugurated by Pope John Paul II in October 2004 and concluded by Pope Benedict XVI in October 2005. Since its beginning and in future, Juventutem has entrusted and will entrust its members and works to the Son of God made Man, Jesus Christ our Savior, present in the Blessed Eucharist. Juventutem will be represented by a monstrance with, in its center, the Blessed Host. The word Juventutem will also be shown in blue below the monstrance, thus demonstrating the Marian character of Juventutem. The year 2005, proclaimed as Year of the Eucharist, also marked the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of Immaculate Conception and our association was consecrated to Our Lady on Good Friday, the 25th of March 2005, coinciding with the Feast of the Annunciation.