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By Bishop  Virgilio da Silva, SDB

Vatican City, 19 October 2018 -- 'During these days of the Synod in the Vatican, we have been blessed for this beautiful experience of journeying together as a Church to “listen” to the reality of the young people today. We have been asking ourselves ”what is my relationship with the youth who are leaving my parish or diocese? Do I see them or they are invisible to me?” or other questions like, “what do the youth want for us?

Young people need someone to listen to them; they want to be trusted; they want to answer to their questions; they want to speak out in their youth-language - simply because they are not the problem but somehow also the victims.

Our Holy Father Pope Francis in his closing remarks for the first part of interventions reminded the Synodal Fathers three key words:

  • "Listen" for the Church the word 'to listen' is 'theo-logical' not only 'pedagogical reality.'
  • "Empathy" is called for an attitude towards the young.
  • Theological principle “the stone that was rejected by the builders has become corner stone (Mt 21:42) Hence only in listening to young people we can discover in them the truth, beauty and goodness of God in them.

Only through listening we are enabled to move further to discover the fire of Pentecost in the heart of young, who are looking for Jesus and we have to show them Jesus. In reality the youth seek for those who would accompany them. This is a call for many good spiritual guides - those who can walk with the young. There is an Egyptian proverb saying, ”Better for me to feel welcome rather than to get a piece of bread.” In accompaniment they young are not attract just by the good examples but especially by the examples which attracts and captures.” (Enzo Bianchi).

I would like to end this by quote saying from one of the Synodal Fathers: ”We come to this world not to stay in our comfort zone, but we come into the world to leave a mark! and now that we are slowly coming to the end of the Synod, we ask ourselves: What is the mark that we have to leave?"

Note of the editor: The great majority of Dili diocese population are young people below the age of 25 years. Within the Timor Leste traditions. the 'listening attitude' of the seniors towards the young means to go against the culture. It's somehow already a prophetics sign.


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