Many young people are stumped by the question: “What is your passion?” But the Synod’s youngest member has a clear, and ‘passionate,’ answer.
Joseph Cao Huu Minh Tri, a young Vietnamese 21-year-old auditor, expressed this during a briefing in the Holy See Press Office, where the Vatican’s Prefect for the Dicastery for Communication, Paolo Ruffini, today, Oct. 4, 2018, at 1:30, briefed journalists on the themes touched on during this morning’s congregation of the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, Oct. 3-28, 2018.
Speaking along with the prefect and youngest member of the Synod were the Holy See Press Office’s Director, Greg Burke; Professor Chiara Giaccardi, collaborator of the special secretary, lecturer in sociology and cultural and communications at the Catholic University of Milan, Italy; and Synod Father Bishop of Quilmes, Argentina, Carlos José Tissera.
Joseph Cao Huu Minh Tri expressed his happiness to be here in Rome, how he feels honored to participate, and “grateful to God” to be involved.
He discussed the meaning of passion and how everywhere young people are channeled through the internet, YouTube, magazines, and so on, on “how to find your passion.”
“This a hot trend, especially in Vietnam,” he said. Despite this, he lamented, there are so many people struggling nowadays to find their passion and live a happy life; people often now go between two extremes— not finding one’s passion and finding the wrong passion, he observed.
Recognizing bishops sometimes have difficulty understanding young people, he appreciated the effort being made by them, to listen and accompany youth.
Joseph recognized that the Church can be flexible, adaptable and work toward solutions, but at the heart of everything is “the Holy Spirit and the faith.”
“It is passion for the Lord,” he said, which satisfies all.
Jesus, Mary Were Young People
Paolo Ruffini explained to journalists that the role of the family in transmitting the faith and how the Church must be credible to young people were among the themes discussed during the Synod’s first day.
During the briefing, the Vatican Prefect recalled the very free and open discussions among all synod fathers and the young people present, as they reflected on the theme of young people, the faith, and vocational discernment. This morning, the young person who gave her intervention first, he told, is pursuing a vocation, she is preparing to become a religious sister. How young people all over want, across cultures, wish and desire to be listened to as they are and where they are, was at the heart of her intervention.
Underscoring the importance of young people, the prefect reminded: “We know Jesus and Mary were young people, too.”
Must Have Credible Church
The Vatican’s Communications’ Prefect and the others acknowledged the need for the Church to be credible in the eyes of young people. While the interventions were not dominated by mentions of scandals in the Church, they said it was named in various interventions or implied in others, stressing the Church must regain its credibility given this.
Responding as to why full names of those giving interventions will not be released, he expressed: this is how it has been done in the past. He expressed he has nothing against releasing the names, but “this is not a debate,” and could impede the freeness in which everyone is speaking, its very synodality.
“It is done as such out of respect,” he noted, as “the thought of the synod is forming together.”
This morning, 25 synod fathers gave an intervention, as well as the young person, and Cardinal Sergio da Rocha, relator general of the Synod of Bishops. The Synod Fathers are given three minutes between interventions to reflect personally on what was said, and those involved noted, this seems to be working well.
The Church as Family, & the Family for Faith
Some themes focused on included the need for young people to be listened to, the young people who are discarded, in various ways, in various parts of the world, how they are to be welcomed and not categorized
“They recognized that the Church,” he said, needs to recover its “paternity,” to be seen as “a family.”
“The family is the place of the transmission of the faith,” he said. “The Church is to work with the families to work for the transmission of the faith,” he said also was discussed. This involved discussing relationships among generations and with grandparents, he noted.
There was also much dialogue on the prophecy and future of young people, on how they know how to see the future, and therefore the synod fathers noted the need to listen to them.
The credibility of the Church, he affirmed was discussed, as interventions touched on “the pardon that the Church asked for and asks.” He noted this includes, of course, the abuses, but not only; in all the ways, the Church must ask forgiveness. He noted: “this was discussed and will be continued to be discussed in days to come.”