Young People, Faith and Discernment

In preparation for a meeting of the Synod of Bishops on youth, the pope wrote a letter to young people, saying the church wants ‘to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith, even your doubts and your criticism’.

“Make your voice heard,” the pope told young people. “Let is resonate in communities and let it be heard”.

The pope’s letter was released along with the preparatory document for the synod. The document includes a series of questions to be answered by national conferences of bishops and other church bodies. The responses, along with input from young people themselves, will form the basis of the synod’s working document.

Pope Francis chose “Young people, faith and vocational discernment” as the theme for the synod gathering, which will be held in October 2018.

Young people will have an opportunity to contribute to the working document by submitting reflections ‘on their expectations and their lives’.

“A better world can be built also as a result of our efforts, your desire to change and your generosity”, Pope Francis told the young people. “Do not be afraid to listen to the Spirit who proposes bold choices; do not delay when your conscience asks you to take risks in following the Master”.

The synod preparatory document offered three chapters for reflection by bishops and youths, which it defines as people roughly between the ages of 16 and 29: young people in today’s world; faith, discernment and vocation; and pastoral activity.

Through the synod, the document said, “the church has decided to examine herself on how she can lead young people to recognise and accept the call to the fullness of life and love, and to ask young people to help her in identifying the most effective ways to communicate the Good News today”.

The church, it said, needs to evaluate its pastoral approach to young people living in a rapidly changing world where globalisation, technological dominance, as well as economic and social hardships pose significant challenges to discovering their vocational path.

By accompanying young people in their personal discernment, it said, “the church accepts her call to collaborate in the joy of young people rather than be tempted to take control of their faith”.