Bishop Thomas Dowd, left, and Bishop Lionel Gendron. Photo by Deborag Gyapong

Canadian bishops eager to share ‘fire’ of synod on youth

By 
  • November 1, 2018

ROME – The president of the Canadian bishops’ conference called the Synod of Bishops a “powerful experience” which he hopes will make him a better bishop.

Bishop Lionel Gendron, one of four Canadian bishops to participate in the month-long synod, said he is eager to take what he learned back to his diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, Que.

“It’s something which is a call to conversion to me personally,” he said. “I hope it’s going to help me be a better bishop in my diocese.”

Montreal Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Dowd said he was also eager to share the experience of the synod.

“There was a real consensus in our group that we had experienced something new, something very renewing as a synod,” he said.

“Something caught fire in a good way. How do we transmit that fire?”

About 30 youth attended the synod, and while they did not have a vote on the final document, they punctuated the sessions with clapping and cheering during some of the interventions. 

“We could hear their reaction,” Gendron said. “We have to learn from them — they are co-responsible at their level, and the bishops at our level.”

Because the young people are part of the Church, the “Church has to be listening,” to accompany them and to “help them,” he said.  “You listen, but you speak, too. It’s not just to say, ‘You’re right, you’re right.’ ”

Dowd described a “sense of joy and peace,” even though serious “discernment was going on” among people with differing opinions. The discussions took place in an atmosphere of mutual respect, prayer, “happening in a spirit of unity,” he said.

This was the first synod for both bishops. Other Canadian bishops were Bishop Stephen Jensen of Prince George and Archbishop Luc Cyr of Sherbrooke. Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix of Quebec City was invited by Pope Francis to attend and Cardinal Marc Ouellet attended in his capacity as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

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