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Synod 2018 - Week two

By Our Own Correspondent

Rome, Italy, 14 October 2018 -- The Synod Fathers concluded another week of the 'Youth Synod' with a lively small group discussion and sharing. Thanks to the strong official media and social media coverage we can gain quite a deep insight into the workings of the Synod. Sharing in 14 'small language groups' brings a variety of concerns from all five continents to the attention of Pope Francis and the whole Synod Assembly (267 Synod Fathers, 23 experts, 49 auditors including 34 young people, with 16 Salesians and 2 Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA).

While we congratulate Fr Fabio Attard for his recent appointment as Consultor to the Vatican Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, we are also grateful for his notes highlighting points from the 14 language groups , and first animation materials that are a bridge between our journey toward GC28 and the inspiration coming from the 2018 Synod:

On the internet you might find a large variety of feedback, insights, dreams - but probably the main point is clearly emerging: the universal Church begins to appreciate the importance of listening to the young. Among insights from the 14 language groups we might appreciate for example:

  • Young people wish to be real participants and not just spectators in the Church community
  • Youth wish to find witnesses to authenticity on the path to holiness, which includes acknowledging mistakes and asking for forgiveness
  • One group asked for short video messages as the tool to communicate the Synod message, because, 'if there isn't a picture, it didn't happen' (digital natives)
  • Suggesting a Message to the Youth of the World: we want to listen to you, we love you and trust you, we are sorry for our failures...
  • How can we build a listening culture in the Church?
  • Bring attention to suffering youth all around the world: child labour, child marriages, working for survival, persecuted Christian communities
  • We must always remember to listen to the young as members of the One Mystical Body of Christ!

On 10 October, Pope Francis told our Rector Major, a Synod Father, that he is praying for the Salesians, and in turn Fr Angel assured the Pope that all Salesians continually entrust Pope Francis through their prayers to Mary Help of Christians.

We can watch, listen to or read a variety of Synod auditors - especially the young people, including one Samoan from New Zealand, one FMA professor of Economics from Rome, a Korean bishop and young religious Sister and many others. Their points cover items from the war and violence in Africa to loneliness and digital migration impact in developed countries.

Our Salesian confrere, a Special Secretary to the 2018 Synod, Fr Rosanno Sala shares the following: "From Pope Francis' opening words it emerged that the word 'listening' is truly central in this Synod ... We realised that the Church struggles to listen, speaks a little too much and listens too little." Fr. Sala goes on to reflect on the ability to listen more to God when he says: “I would also say that the deepest root of this lack of listening to young people is probably a lack of listening to God. We talk a lot about God, but maybe we talk little with God. And this is a lack of credibility. When we speak of God, without having first spoken with God, we are not very credible!"

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