“We feel that the Church is a family,” said the two Chinese Bishops attending the Synod on Young People, Monsignor Joseph Guo Jincai, Bishop of Chengde (Hebei), and Monsignor Jean-Baptiste Yang Xiaoting, Bishop of Yan’an (Shaanxi), during an October 13, 2018, interview with Vatican Radio-Vatican News. They are the two first Bishops of China to take part in a Synod of Bishops, giving their testimony to the Chinese editorial staff.
“As a Chinese Bishop, I’m happy to take part in a Synod for the first time. We feel the Church is a family and we received a warm welcome,” said Bishop Joseph Guo Jincai. “For the Chinese Bishops, this Synod is very timely and the subjects that are discussed are those of which we are in need for the formation of vocations,” added Bishop Jean-Baptiste Yang.
He explained that, in terms of discernment, China is faced with the same questions as in other countries of the world: “we work on formation, on the catechism, on the importance of the concept of vocation, which isn’t only for the consecrated but also for the laity.”
Bishop Guo Jincai specified that each parish has an Office of Accompaniment of young married couples and engaged couples. “The whole family and the vocation of the family are linked to the growth of the Church and to the service of society. That’s why family stability will do good to the whole society. We must pray for families and for this vocation so that with faith, the marriage promises can be upheld.” Some Chinese dioceses propose, in this connection, regular courses and formation on marriage ethics, to support young people, added Bishop Yang.
Bishop Guo Jincai said he was particularly touched by the subject of vocation as “God’s call.” “God calls each person because each one of us was created by Him. At present we feel that our duty is even more difficult on the subject of young people’s vocation. We are called to proclaim the Gospel, to reinforce the faith and to serve our society, making our contribution to our country.” The Bishop believes that to listen to young people “enables them not to feel alone. They are no longer without hope when they have difficulties because the Church will always be their family and will always accompany them.”
Finally, they gave a message to young Catholics of China: “Young brothers in the faith, our most sincere intention in this Synod is to listen to the voices of young people in diverse situations, including those of Chinese young people. We pray for you and we will accompany you, listening to your needs. We will help you with pastoral care, as the Resurrected Jesus listened to and accompanied the two young men on the road to Emmaus,” said Bishop Guo Jincai.
Bishop Jean-Baptiste Yang stressed that young people “expect a joyful message,” from this Synod. “I would like to share my desire with the young people of Continental China. This Synod is for the young people of the whole world and also for Chinese young people. Here there is talk of accompaniment, of the search for answers to the problems of young people, to guide young people in the faith. I would like to say to you: the Church needs young people. The Church loves young people and she sees above all that young people are the future of the Church. The Lord loves young people; we, Bishops, love young people.”