A meeting in Rome from March 19-24, 2018, will be an important part of the consultation phase before the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme Young people, faith and vocation discernment, scheduled for October 2018.
Pope Francis announced the “pre-synodal” meeting at his General Audience on Wednesday, October 4, 2017. This meeting will be organized by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, in collaboration with the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.
In this pre-synodal meeting, young people will be invited to represent the Episcopal Conferences; the Oriental Churches; consecrated life and those preparing for the priesthood; associations and Church movements; other Churches and communities, both Christian and of other religions; the worlds of school, university and culture, work, sports, arts and volunteering; and the world of young people who find themselves in extreme existential peripheries, as well as experts, educators and trainers engaged in helping young people to discern their life choices.
“We thank the Holy Father for this initiative, which will allow young people to express their expectations and desires, as well as their uncertainties and concerns in the complex events of today’s world,” said a statement from General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishop.
This initiative is part of the synodal tradition, as pre-synodal meetings have been organized in the past, such as the one held in preparation for the Seventh Ordinary General Assembly in 1987 on the vocation and mission of lay people in the Church and in the world, and the Symposium prior to the 1991 Special Assembly for Europe.
The pre-synodal meeting will contribute to enriching the consultation phase already undertaken with the publication of the Preparatory Document and its questionnaire, with the opening of the online website containing a specific questionnaire for young people, and the International Seminar on the condition of young people, held last September. The fruit of the works of this meeting will be offered to the Synod Fathers, along with other documentation, to encourage their reflection and further examination.
The planned date for the pre-synodal meeting was specially chosen to enable all participants to take part, at the end, in the celebration of the Eucharist on Palm Sunday with the Holy Father in Saint Peter’s Square at the 33rd World Youth Day 2018 on the theme “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (Lk 1:30).
The preparatory document for the 15th Ordinary General Assembly was released on January 31, 2017. It includes a questionnaire, which was submitted to the episcopal conferences, the synods of the sui iuris Oriental Catholic Churches and other Organs of right, so that it can be transmitted to the dioceses and other ecclesial institutions.
Pope Francis told young people on January 13 that “I wanted you to be the center of attention because you are in my heart…the Preparatory Document is being presented, a document which I am also entrusting to you as your ‘compass’ on this synodal journey.”