…Be lifeline of hope for youth – Pope Francis
For the next one month, 267 Catholic Bishops from across the world will put heads together in Rome, to find a way forward for young people.
The bishops will discuss the needs of the young, their problems and give solutions, as the third synod hosted by Pope Francis gets underway.
Thirty-five young people will participate as experts or auditors. They will take part in the discussions but will be unable to vote on the meeting’s expected final document. Also joining to consider the theme “Young people, the faith, and vocation discernment” are eight delegates from other Christian denominations.
Pope Francis urged the synod fathers to listen to one another “sincerely and prayerfully,” and avoid prejudice. He said they are to reflect the signs of hope and joy that young people are looking for.
Pope Francis’ remarks were part of a short homily during a Mass, Oct.3rd , with thousands in St Peter’s Square for the opening of the 15th ordinary general assembly of the synod.
The Pope said listening to God and listening to the people, reflecting on what they hear God calling them to is the approach the synod should take, because it protects “us from the temptation of falling into moralistic or elitist postures” from the lure abstract ideologies that never address the real problem.
The synod is expected to help young people feel called to the church at a time when church marriages and religious vocations are plummeting in much of the West.
Pope Francis prayed God’s help to ensure the church “does not allow itself, from one generation to the next to be extinguished or crushed by the prophets of doom and misfortune by our own shortcomings, mistakes and sins”.
This is the third synod of Pope Francis’ five-year papacy, following gatherings in 2014 and 2015 that focused on issues of family life.
The October synod is also marked by the fact that two bishops from mainland China are taking part for the first time since the beginning of the synod process in 1967, thanks to the recent “provisional agreement” between Vatican and Beijing that ended decades-long dispute over appointment of Catholic bishops in the Communist country.
The synod will end on October 28.
Speaking to The Leader on the ongoing synod, Archbishop AJV Obinna, the metropolitan and Archbishop of Owerri said the synod is “a great opportunity to engage the youths, draw them closer to Christ, strengthen their faith, and explore avenues of greater service and collaboration in the church”.
Delegates from Nigeria to the synod include: Bishop Godfrey Onah (Nsukka), Bishop Michael Akpochi (Otukpo). Bishop John Oyejola (Osogbo).