Vatican encourages youth participation in pre-synod meeting via Facebook
World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, July 2016. JEFF BRUNO/CNA
By Catholic News Agency
March 15, 2018
As the pre-synod gathering on youth approaches, Vatican organizers are inviting young people around the globe to join in the discussion through Facebook groups in six different languages.
The 2018 Synod of Bishops on Youth, Faith, and Vocational Discernment will take place this October, but a pre-synod meeting with 315 young people from around the world will take place in Rome from March 19-24.
“With this path the Church wishes to listen to the voices, feelings, faith and even the doubts and critiques of the youth,” Pope Francis said in announcing the pre-synod event.
The goal is to hear from youth worldwide about their lives, situations and challenges, in order to prepare for the gathering of bishops on the topic this fall.
For those unable to attend the pre-synod meeting, Facebook groups have been set up in six languages for Catholics to share their views. The Facebook groups, which were opened about a month ago, will close on March 16.
All young adults ages 16-29 are invited to virtually participate in the pre-synod meeting. After being accepted into the Facebook group, people will have an opportunity to answers questions which will be summarized and presented to the Holy Father.
To participate, members must have an individual profile, not a page representing an organization, group, or cause. The answers to the questions must also be limited to 200 words or a one-minute video sent to WhatsApp at (+39 342 601 5596).
One question discusses “the vocational sense of life,” asking, “Is there a clear understanding in younger generations of their having a personal call and specific mission in the world?”
On Monday, the pre-synod meeting in Rome will begin with a question-and-answer session with Pope Francis. Then participants will break into groups to discuss a variety of themes, like volunteer work, technology, and politics.
At the end of the gathering, notes of the various discussions will be gathered into one comprehensive concluding document, which will be presented to Pope Francis and used as part of the “Instrumentum Laboris,” or “working document,” of the October synod.
The March event will also include opportunities for prayer, such as praying the Way of the Cross while touring the Roman catacombs of San Callisto, as well as entertainment. Palm Sunday Mass will conclude the week, celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square.
The focus of the event is divided into three parts: youth in the world, vocational discernment, and pastoral action.
Youth in the world will focus on defining who the younger generations are and what the culture is around them. The gathering will also discuss the choices the youth have made.
Second, the pre-synod meeting will consider how young adults respond to faith and vocations. It will analyze different vocational paths, the gifts of discernment, and how the Church may best accompany young adults.
Third, it hopes to encourage an inclusive pastoral environment where young people are responsibly involved in the community. It will explore possible tools and places, physical and digital, to aid the faith life of young people.
“This is a step the Church is making to listen to all youth,” said Stella Marilene Nishimwe, a young Burundi woman living in Italy who will be a participant to the pre-synod gathering.
“It will give us an opportunity to say everything that we think. This is an opportunity that we must really take.”