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The Captain just got off a conference call. And my mind went tripping down memory lane.

Somewhere in the late sixties I was working as a secretary (nowadays I would’ve been an Executive Assistant – how grand!) to one of the Head Honchos at Stellenbosch Farmers Winery in South Africa.

Every couple of months there would be a Regional Meeting (translate conference) and the managers from other cities would fly in. SFW headquarters were a little out of town so we “Executive Assistants” would prepare a cold lunch, find whatever wines were asked for and serve these gods of the industry in the conference room.

It was fun. You dressed your best that day. Even if they didn’t notice you, their importance rubbed off by association.

It was glamorous. A world that no longer exists. Change is inevitable. It’s okay. I’m glad I have my memories and I wonder if they still have Regional Meetings and if the “secretaries” still dress up and get excited about matching a face to a voice on the phone.

It was a good time. We even got to taste some of the wines. What did we like; what didn’t we like; why. Our opinions mattered. After all, our age group was their biggest market.

So when I look askance at today’s young, head tilted sideways, lips pursed, all I need to do is go back in time. Our opinions mattered then; their opinions matter now.

So don’t ignore the youth. What they say and do is where our beloved country will be in the not so distant future. Talk to them, cultivate them, educate them.

And don’t under-estimate the impact you might have, the impressions you make that linger. I leave you with a quote by Pope Frances on World Youth Day 2013.

Christ has confidence in young people and entrusts them with the very future of his mission, ‘Go and make disciples.’ Go beyond the confines of what is humanly possible and create a world of brothers and sisters! And young people have confidence in Christ: they are not afraid to risk for him the only life they have, because they know they will not be disappointed.” (Pope Francis WYD 2013).

The following was NOT written by Pope Francis but I love it.

We need saints without veil or cassock.
We need saints who wear jeans and sneakers.
We need saints who go to the movies, listen to music and hang out with friends.
We need saints who put God in first place, but who let go of their power.
We need saints who have time every day to pray and who know how to date in purity and chastity, or who consecrate their chastity.
We need modern saints, Saints of the 21st century with a spirituality that is part of our time.
We need saints committed to the poor and the necessary social changes.
We need saints who live in the world and who are sanctified in the world, who are not afraid to live in the world.
We need saints who drink Coke and eat hot dogs, who wear jeans, who are Internet-savvy, who listen to CDs.
We need saints who passionately love the Eucharist and who are not ashamed to drink a soda or eat pizza on weekends with friends.
We need saints who like movies, the theater, music, dance, sports.
We need saints who are social, open, normal, friendly, happy and who are good companions.
We need saints who are in the world and know how to taste the pure and nice things of the world but who aren’t of the world.

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