Vatican City. The XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment which started from the 3rd of October finally ended on Sunday morning, 28th October 2018 with the celebration of the Concluding Mass presided by Pope Francis at the Basilica of St. Peter.
“To all of you who have taken part in this journey together, I say thank you. May the Lord bless our steps, so that we can listen to young people, be their neighbors, and bear witness before them to Jesus, the joy of our lives” says Pope Francis.
It was around 9 pm in Rome on Saturday, 27th of October when the Final Document of the Synod was presented during the Press Conference. The said document which was based and inspired on the Road to Emmaus of Luke (cf Lk 25:13-35) contains three parts and entitled as 1) “He walked with them”; 2) “Their eyes were opened”; 3) “They left without delay.”
The first part deals with concrete aspect of the lives of the youth. It emphasizes the importance of schools, parishes, the need for laity training in youth accompaniment. It challenges the efficiency, dynamisms and catechetical instructions rendered in parishes. It also dealt with the reality of young people regarding migration, abuse, the “throwaway culture.” It also discussed the use of art, music, and sports as pastoral resources.
The second part of the document affirms that the young people is one of the theological places in which the Lord makes himself present among us. Through them the Church can renew herself, shaking off its heaviness and slowness. It shows two concepts – mission and vocation. “Mission is a sure compass for youth since it is the gift that brings an authentic and lasting happiness.” “Every baptismal vocation is a call to holiness.” The second part also covers the concept on accompaniment and discernment which are both essential in developing the mission and vocation of the youth.
On the other hand, the third part speaks of a young Church. Mary Magdalene, the first witness of the Resurrection, is the icon of the young Church. “Walking together” is the synodal dynamic which the Fathers also bring to light in this part. Walk with the youth, bring them all together with no exclusion.
“The fruit of this Synod, the choice that the Spirit has inspired us through listening and discernment is to walk with young people going to all to witness the love of God. We can describe this process speaking of synodality for the mission, that is missionary synodality.”
It invites the Bishops’ Conferences around the world to continue the process of discernment with the aim of developing specific pastoral solutions. The definition of “synodality” provided is a style for mission that encourages us to move from “I” to “we” and to consider the multiplicity of faces, sensitivities, origins and cultures.
The Synod Document also reminds families and Christian communities of the importance of accompanying young people to discover the gift of their sexuality. The bishops recognize the Church’s difficulty in transmitting the beauty of the Christian vision of sexuality in the current cultural context. The document says that it is urgent to seek “more appropriate ways which are translated concretely into the development of renewed formative paths“.
The document ends with a call to become saints, to awaken the world with holiness, and let the Church be drawn by the sanctity of the young.
“Through the holiness of the young the Church can renew her spiritual ardor and her apostolic vigor. The balm of holiness generated by the good life of many young people can heal the wounds of the Church and the world, bringing us back to that fullness of love to which we have always been called: the young saints urge us to return to our first love.”
Original Document in Italian: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2018/10/27/0789/01722.html
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