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Young people from Chiavari offer "pesto" to Pope Francis 05/09/2017 © L'Osservatore Romano

Young people offer "pesto" to Pope Francis © L'Osservatore Romano

Vatican Presents Instrumentum Laboris for Synod on Young People

Cardinal Baldisseri Says It Listens to Young People, Calls Them to Holiness

The Vatican has presented the Instrumentum Laboris for the upcoming Synod on Young People.

The working instrument of the October 3-28, 2018 XVth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the theme “Young people, faith and vocational discernment,” was published today, June 19, 2018, in Italian.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, confirmed to Zenit that the Vatican’s official English translation, along with the other languages, will be made available in the days to come. Once released, Zenit will bring the full text to its readers.

The Instrumentum Laboris, the Cardinal highlighted, will serve as a guiding thread for the three weeks of the next synod, so as to “find ways of pastoral and missionary conversion.”

The document, dated May 8, 2018, is composed of three parts which altogether contain 13 chapters, introduction and conclusion.

The “synodal path” started immediately for the writing of the “preparatory document,” published on January 13, 2017, together with Pope Francis’ “Letter to the young people.”

This document contained a “Questionnaire” intended mainly for episcopal conferences, synods of Eastern Catholic Churches, and other organizations of the Church: 15 questions addressed to all, three specific questions for each continent, and a call to share experienced “good practices.”

Cardinal Baldisseri then mentions the “International Seminar on the situation of young people” which took place from Sept. 11-15, 2017, with the participation of experts and young people, to take account of the situation of young people today.”

There were also initiatives to “involve young people,” beginning with an “Online Questionnaire” in different languages ​​and also translated by episcopal conferences: some 100,000 young people sent their responses.

There was also the “Pre-synodal Meeting” of young people, in Rome, from March 19-24, 2018, where 300 young people from five continents were physically present, while 15,000 other young people participated in the meeting thanks to social networks. It ended on Palm Sunday, World Youth Day 2018, with the final document prepared by the young people being delivered to Pope Francis.

This initiative, Cardinal Baldisseri noted, demonstrates “the expression of the desire of the Church to listen to all young people without exclusion”.

“The material collected by these four main sources – in addition to the “0bservations “of the Secretariat of the Synod- is certainly very vast. It has been thoroughly analyzed by experts, carefully synthesized, and collected in “The Instrument of Work” approved by the XIV Extraordinary Council of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, in the presence of the Holy Father, ” he said.

Cardinal Baldisseri specified that the text takes up the themes in a “functional” way for the unfolding of the synod: “Recognize” (five chapters), “Interpret” (four chapters for four “reading keys”), “Choose” (four chapters, “to help the Synod Fathers to take a stand on the directions and decisions to be taken”).

The document concludes with “significant attention” to the theme of “holiness” so that the synod will recognize “the most beautiful face of the Church”, as Pope Francis put it in Gaudete et Exsultate” (n.9) and that he knows how to propose it today “to all young people.”


Instrumentum Laboris (in original Italian):

Here is our translation of the main titles of the document:


I.Recognize: the Church listens to reality

Ch.1 Being young today

Ch.2 Experiences and languages

Ch.3 In waste culture

Ch.4 Anthropological and cultural challenges

Ch.5 Listening to young people

II.Interpreting faith and discernment of vocations

Ch.1 The blessing of youth

Ch.2 The call to the light of faith

Ch.3 The dynamism of vocational discernment

Ch. 4 The Art of Accompanying

III. Choose: pastoral and missionary conversion paths 

Ch.1 An integral perspective

Ch.2 Immersed in the fabric of everyday life

Ch.3 An evangelized and evangelizing community

Ch. 4 Animation and organization of the pastoral



About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': or

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