Young people from all over the world in Rome in preparation for the October Synod
From March 19 to 24, the Pre-Synodal Meeting will prepare a document that will flow into the working document of the Synod. An encounter to "listen" to young people. To participate concretely through social media, young people will simply have to go to the website www.synod2018.va, where they will find the link to register with the Facebook Group of one of the 6 languages provided.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Not just talking about "young people", but listening to young people, also using social media. This is the aim of the Pre-Synodal Meeting which will see 300 young people from around the world in Rome, from 19 to 24 March , believers and non-believers, to elaborate reflections that will flow into the working document of the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, whose theme will be precisely young people today.
Card. Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the secretariat of the Synod of Bishops presented the Meeting today at the Vatican, as part of the preparation of a Synod that "wants to be not only a Synod on young people and for young people, but also a Synod of young people and with young people".
The meeting reflects a key word, repeatedly used by the Pope: 'listening'. "In this Pre-Synodal Meeting we will listen to the young people live, in order to better understand their situation: what they think about themselves and adults, how they live their faith and what difficulties they encounter to be Christians, how they plan their lives and what problems they find in discerning their vocation, how they see the Church today and how they would like it, etc. ".
The final document of the meeting will be delivered to the Pope on Sunday 25 March and, together with the other contributions received, will be merged into the Instrumentum laboris, the document on which the Synodal Fathers will meet in October. That Sunday, all the young people invited to Rome will be able to participate, at the conclusion of the working session, in the celebration of the Eucharist on Palm Sunday in St Peter's Square on the occasion of the XXXIII World Youth Day, which has the theme "Do not be afraid, Mary, because you have found favor with God "(Lk 1:30).
221 thousand replies to the questionnaire
To facilitate the participation of young people, even those distant from the usual ecclesial 'circuits', last year an internet site dedicated to Synod 2018 was opened, containing a special Questionnaire for young people that has been online for over six months. The cardinal reported that about 221,000 people took part. Of these, 100,500 answered all the questions: 58,000 girls and 42,500 boys. Almost 51,000 participants, which correspond to 50.6% of completed questionnaires, are young people between 16 and 19 years of age, demonstrating that the youngest have proved to be most open to the initiative. The most represented continent is Europe, with 56.4%, followed by Central and Southern America with 19.8% and Africa with 18.1%. Among the participants who completed the Questionnaire, 73.9% declare themselves to be Catholics who consider religion important, while the remaining are Catholics who do not consider religion important (8.8%), non-Catholics who consider religion important (6.1%) and non-Catholics who do not consider religion as important (11.1%).
The working sessions, said Msgr. Fabio Fabene, under-secretary of the Synod of Bishops, will be opened on Monday 19 March, in the presence of the Pope - who on that day will also mark the fifth anniversary of the beginning of his Petrine ministry. He will greet and answer questions of young people from the 5 continents. That afternoon the young people will be divided into linguistic groups, in which they will discuss the appropriate Outline of work and elaborate summaries to prepare the final project that will be presented in plenary assembly on Thursday morning.
"Aware that young people can express themselves more easily with new digital technologies and also like to communicate with the language of narration, images and music, together with the final document, a video will be made: it will be a further way to leave room for creativity of young people and to help them express what they feel they want to say ".
A website, Facebook groups and 14 hashtags
To participate concretely through social media, young people will simply have to go to the website www.synod2018.va , where they will find the link to register with the Facebook Group of one of the 6 languages provided. Within these Groups, members will have the opportunity to make their own contribution on the topics proposed by the questions contained in the Guidebook, published today - which will 're-evaluate' the issues discussed by young people present in Rome - each combined with one of the 14 hashtags , which will allow for the collation and organization of input from young people online.
The Guidebook, which opens with the Pope's Letter to young people published on January 13, 2017, contains above all the Outline of work, designed as a basic tool for the work during the Meeting. In fact, between Monday and Tuesday, the linguistic groups will discuss the three parts of the Outline, elaborated on the basis of the Preparatory Document of the Synod. Each part includes 5 questions that are intended to facilitate discussion in language groups. They touch on different aspects of the reality for young people today: from the search for the meaning of life to the relationship with technology, from affectivity to vocational discernment, from political participation to volunteer work.
The Pre-Synodal Meeting will not be just a week of 'work'. During the week there will also be moments of prayer, such as Friday, when a Stations of the Cross is scheduled at the Catacombs of San Callisto, to which the young people of Rome and those who wish to participate will be invited. On Saturday afternoon, the young will visit the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo and in the evening they will take part in a moment of celebration together with the youth of the Diocese of Albano.