POPE FRANCIS IN ROME, BY Ary Waldir Ramos Díaz vía Aleteia.org •
“A better world can be built also as a result of your efforts, your desire to change and your generosity,” Pope Francis wrote in his letter addressed to the youth.
The Pontiff said that he was “pleased” to announce that in October 2018, the Synod of Bishops will take place under the topic: Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.”
“I wanted you to be the centre of attention, because you are in my heart,” said the Pontiff who decided that the 2019 World Youth Day will be held in Panama.
The Preparatory Document, which the Pope offered as a “guideline” for this meeting, was presented in the Vatican on 13 January.
The Bishop of Rome does not want the youth to stay on the sofa while others decide their future and invites them to entrust their hopes, thoughts and proposals about life and pastoral work to the Church.
“St. Benedict urged the abbots to consult, even the young, before any important decision, because “the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best” (Rule of St. Benedict, III,3), he explained.
In this way, he invited young people to be active and not be afraid to listen to the Holy Spirit that gives them “bold choices.” “Make your voice heard, let it resonate in communities and let it be heard by your shepherds of souls.”
Speaking about young people who take risks to follow Jesus, he said that the “Church also wishes to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith; even your doubts and your criticism.”
How does it work?
The document is a guideline ahead of the Synod and is addressed especially to young people between the ages of 16 and 29 years, taking into account a variety of social and local contexts.
The text has been sent to the leadership councils of the eastern Catholic churches, the Bishops’ Conferences, the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, and the Union of Superior Generals.
This is to elaborate the Instrumentum Laboris, the working document for the Synod, explained Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, during a press conference in the Vatican on 13 January.
However, he highlighted the need to gain a better understanding of the current language of the youth, including digital language. “We will do this together with the young people, we seek their participation in the bishops’ conferences,” said Baldissieri.
He added that listening to the youth is the pastoral and theological vision of Francis’ pontificate: “The centrality of joy and love, underlined several times in the text.”
“The document is divided into three parts. The first urges listening to reality. The second highlights the importance of discernment in the light of faith in order to make life choices that truly correspond to the will of God and to the good of the person. The third focuses on the pastoral action of the ecclesial community,” said Baldisseri.
Fabio Fabene, the under-secretary for the Synod of Bishops commented that the preparatory document has been designed so that that “young people are truly involved” in the “synod agenda.”
The questions have been divided according to geographical areas and what is new this time, compared to the last Synod, is that three questions for each continent are added to the 15 general questions.
“We will assess the answers on the questionnaires in specialised centres,” said Fabio Fabene.
From 1 March, there will be a website where young people can send their concerns about Jesus, their life plans, society and the local community: http://www.sinodogiovani2018.va. The digital continent is an important issue to evaluate and to enter into youth culture, an opportunity to bring the “bishops and prelates who are sometimes unpractical” up-to-date, said Baldissieri.
The website is open to all of the faithful and people far away. “Everyone can write, we will respond to each one at our discretion,” he added.