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Synod of Bishops 2018 - Week One

By Our Own Correspondent

Vatican City, 7 October 2018 -- The first few weeks of the 2018 Bishop's Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment is over. We can follow the proceedings on the internet through various news agencies, but also in prayer and communion with the 16 Salesians and two FMA Sisters who are involved directly in the Synod Assembly of 300 participants, including 36 young people.

After the opening Eucharist on 3 October, every morning the "Synod Fathers'' gathered to listen to the 4 minute talks, then continuing with group sharing and discernment. Of course, Pope Francis is there and listens. It was the Holy Father who suggested a new 'best practice' for the Synod: to have a break of 3 minutes silence after each of the series of five addresses by bishops. It is, indeed, a courageous and prophetic best practice also for our Salesian encounters. A short period of silence brings more quality to the whole process of discernment, like the Synod.

The first week was dedicated to reflection on the Working document of the synod and to unpacking its themes, and most of all, time was spent in listening to many young 'Auditors' from all parts of the world, who are taking part in the Synod event. Their sharing, appeals and wisdom are, for us Salesians, good food for reflection and a strong invitation to deeper listening in any situation, as the first step in our mission for and with the young.

And what about EAO participants? You might see the Filipino bishops with Pope Francis in their selfie (Bishop Buzon, Bacolod diocese) and also our Rome-based UPS students who participated in the large listening experience last Saturday in the Paul VI Hall with thousands of youth, Pope Francis and the Synod Fathers.

One of the EAO members, (former General Councilor for Youth Ministry, Bishop Luc Van Looy, SDB, Gent diocese, Belgium), shares the following with us: "At the Synod, if we include myself, there are five participants from Korea, three bishops, one religious sister and myself. At the moment we are working in language groups, studying the working document , the ‘Instrumentum laboris', as we want to discover if the analysis of society with regard to youth is correct. Each group is supposed to add to or correct the text. Then, after this work, a synthesis of what has been studied in the different groups will be brought to study in the assembly. That is for next Tuesday. I sense a great interest in youth, especially the desire to communicate well, in a language which the young like and understan. This is an important point. We hope and pray that the Church might grow closer to the young through this Synod."

FB, Synod 2018:

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  • Ambrose 2018.10.07 17:27

    Thanks so very much for the insights - silence and the need to listen to the young.

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