This past week the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment began in Rome. The month long meeting draws together bishops from all across the world to discuss this topic amongst themselves, with experts, young people, and with Pope Francis.
A Synod is not the same thing as an Ecumenical Council like Vatican II. An Ecumenical Council is rare and draws together all bishops along with theologians, lay people, and various experts in order to address large, pressing issues. A Synod is smaller, taking select bishops and ordinarily meets every three years to discuss some pertinent topic.
This Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment intends to engage such questions as, “How can the Church better share the beauty of the Faith with young people?,” and, “How do we foster more vocations to the priesthood, religious life, and sacramental marriage?” These are important questions for our time.
Ideally, the bishops will bring along with them insights from their own countries, sharing what has worked to engage the youth. For example, I would imagine the bishops of the U.S.A. would present on FOCUS, the Fellowship Of Catholic University Students, which is very successful at engaging students on college campuses here in the States. The bishops may also present their difficulties and ask for advice. Cultural trends, and how the Gospel speaks to them, will likely also be discussed. The Synod will then produce a document to capture the results of the conversation-at-large and hopefully provide guidance for all bishops, priests, and laypeople to better engage the youth.
Our representatives from the United States are Cardinal DiNardo of Houston, Cardinal Cupich of Chicago, Archbishop Gomez of L.A., Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, Bishop Caggiano of Bridgeport, and Bishop Barron an auxiliary bishop of L.A. If you are interested in following the events of the Synod you can follow Bishop Barron’s updates at www.WordFromRome.com or follow the series “Letters from the Synod” on FirstThings.com.
Please pray for the success of the Synod. The questions they are posing have no simple answers, yet this discussion has potential to bear great fruit in the Church. Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to inspire them, keep them true to the Faith, and grant them evangelical boldness.
Fr. Adam Grelinger