XI International Youth Forum, Editorial Team •
“During the Synod we shared experiences, struggled together, worked together and rejoiced together because we are the Church.” With these words Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri greeted the young people from all over the world who had gathered in Ciampino Rome, for the Eleventh International Youth Forum, the heart of the synod devoted to them, in order to awaken to new life the passionate and fruitful experience of the synodal way. —
The young people who were participating in this Eleventh International Forum, which has been organised by the Dicastery for the Laity, Families and Life, really and truly arrived “in a thousand different ways”. The rooms of the centre, Il Carmelo, in Ciampino, Rome, the main venue of the event, were quickly filled with the sounds and colours of five continents. Overcoming language and cultural barriers in order to find a platform for meeting one another, was only a matter of time: To be young and united by the same faith doubtlessly has many benefits.
Around 250 young people aged between 20 and 28, who are actively committed to the Church, and who come from more than a hundred countries around the world, and about forty important ecclesial Movements and communities with a wide international spread, took part. During the four days of work the delegates reflected on the conclusions of the last synod on youth, faith and vocation, as well as the Apostolic Exhortation Christus vivit, in order to make practical suggestions for pastoral action. Fr Alexandre Awi, a Schoenstatt Father and the Secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, was among the participants, along with Lucas Galhardo, a Brazilian member of the Schoenstatt Men’s Youth.
The synodal way and the effect on the local churches
Fr Giacomo Costa SJ, Secretary of the Youth Synod, who was responsible for providing information to the forum, emphasised the atmosphere of openness, authenticity and freedom with which the work would be done: “On the synodal way, the dialogue between bishops and young people was fruitful, and many questions were raised: the desire to be heard, the importance of and difficulties with families and the world of work, questions about the digital world, globalisation, immigration, the ecology, the experience of the slow-down of life in the ecclesial communities and liturgies, and above all the desire for an authentic, accessible, transparent and committed Church.”
The other contributions in the morning, presented by the young auditors of the synod and the delegates who had collaborated in the preparations for the synod, confirmed this climate of listening and affection, as well as their strong impression that the Synod Fathers, and above all Pope Francis, listened to them attentively and cared for them.
The group work in the afternoon concentrated on the second part of the theme – the effects on the local churches – with a still on-going assessment proceeding from the observation that the reception of the synod by the various realities has been uneven. However, it was important that attention was paid to the young people: The synod is at any rate a process, not a closed event. It depends on us to apply it in practice to the daily life of the local church.
Source: Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life
Title photo: Panama2019, Peregrinacion / Campo San Juan Pablo ll, Osvaldo Montenegro
Original: Spanish. Translation: Mary Cole, Manchester, UK