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Origin has a future

Europe: Heritage Lived Bonifatiuswerk

Again and again it can be seen that Christian traditions in the European context (apparently) are losing importance and meaning. They have been and still are the material and cultural roots of Europe, and today they offer an interpretive horizon for the questions of human existence and social coexistence. As youth studies (among others, the Sinus Youth Study 2016) show, "young people have a need for meaning." They are, however, often "religious tourists" with an individually arranged patchwork of a variety of religious, quasi-religious and spiritual offers". The "individual faith, the affiliation to a religious community and the active participation in this religious community" are still not directly related to many young people, but are often viewed separately."

How the studies clearly show there is an "interest in meaning questions independent of belonging to a religious community". It is understandable that families have a special importance while passing on traditions. As the age of the children increases, however, the reference loses more and more strength. They want to go on a journey of discovery in their lives and give meaning to their lives. Christian initiation rituals as pathmarks act only sporadically and faded, while life crises (positive and negative) raise questions which call for interpretation: "For example, the Christian youths do not report that confirmation would have been an occasion to check their own faith. On the contrary, other decisive events that are experienced or anticipated (such as marriage or death) reinforce affiliation to the faith community."

In addition to this, the challenge for the adolescents is to reorient themselves in their living environment and to find answers to their own questions. Here, Christian tradition and rituals make a strong contribution to the meaningful formation of faith and life, which can also be a cross-border guarantee of a peaceful coexistence. As life changes, the relationship to these traditions and rituals also changes. Many things are gaining in importance. New customs and traditions are established, others are revived. They are always accompanied by special identification figures that give clear and comprehensible examples of how personal beliefs can be integrated into the biography and be lived.

For adolescents, however, it is increasingly difficult to locate their religious life in everyday life and to develop a lively faith, which is also community-creating. Here, support is needed which promotes intrinsic motivation for the knowledge of the self and self-knowledge and the expansion of competencies - even beyond the time of the initiation rites / sacraments.

If it is assumed that Christianity is a living, cultural heritage in Europe (and beyond) and if it is further assumed that Christian traditions offer a strong function in finding answers to goals and meaning in life, that they are approaching meaning and orientation for seekers, then they need strong partners and tools to make the cultural roots of their world of life fruitful for themselves. So that the roots are not only dry wood of the past.
In order to deal with the Christian cultural heritage which surrounds them, young people, especially in the context of schools, will select a topic and represent that person, this place, this festival and its importance as a cultural heritage for young people in the form of video formats and digital photographs. During the process, they exchange ideas and interim results with other groups. For this purpose, a digital platform will be created. The resulting picture material will be awarded in a competition and will be mainly published via digital channels. During the process, the young people are accompanied by didactic instructions, so that they can identify and reflect their own actions in the Christian cultural heritage. Through this learning as a "hindrance", they sharpen their competences in order to recognize the European heritage as relevant for themselves and will be able to provide Information to others. In that way, they are updating the legacy, as it were, and giving it new life where necessary.

The project is sponsored by Representative for Culture and Media of the Federal Government as part of the European Cultural Year 2018.

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