Pope Francis accepts offertory gifts during the opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Oct 3. Among those presenting the gifts was Emilie Callan, a synod delegate from Canada, pictured with the young adults second from left. CNS photo/Vatican Media

Youth Speak News team recaps the Youth Synod

  • November 8, 2018

From Oct. 3-28, our YSN reporting team followed the discussions taking place in Rome at the Synod of Bishops on young people. Below, a few members from across the country share their own thoughts. 

We need more faith

By Katherine Szojka

After an eventful summer in the Catholic world, I remember several bishops advising Pope Francis to call off this synod in order to address other things. “None of the young people will listen to anything the bishops have to say right now,” they said. I, for one, am very grateful the synod was not called off.

There were three parts to the focus of this year’s synod: youth, faith and vocational discernment. I have heard many people emphasize calling this the synod on youth, or vocational discernment, but not once did I hear anyone call it the synod on “faith.” 

At baptism, we (or our parents) asked the Church for the gift of faith. At the synod, one real moment of excitement — one that captured a real sense of that shared gift — came when a bishop acknowledged the struggles of young people and then used it as a backdrop to discuss how to enter into the mystery of the cross in which we were all baptized.

A seat at the table

By Janelle Lafantaisie

I didn’t feel like the resources within my archdiocese did a good job of articulating the way that our Church fathers were coming together to discuss the young people of the Church who are striving every day to protect and defend her. 

Among the statements that stood out to me was the apology the Pope made to young people who felt ignored by the Church. It’s a valid complaint. Look at your local parish council and you will rarely find someone who is younger than 40 years old. 

I’m fortunate to serve on the Catholic Education Council for the Archdiocese of St. Boniface, Man. Even though I have a seat at the table (literally), I’m still struggling for my voice to be heard and taken seriously. I think this is something that other youth can understand, as well. 

Hope renewed

By Danielle Rivest

In light of the sexual abuse scandal, it is no secret that 2018 has been a particularly difficult year for the Church. It has been difficult to watch it unfold, and it was disheartening to hear about all the mistakes, abuses and coverups. 

I needed to be reminded that the Church is here now and always, that human error is not Church error. My hope has been renewed and I am ready to enter into this new era of righteousness. 

Rather than human beings, young people are human becomings, projections of the future instead of markers in the present. But the Synod Fathers argued just the opposite. It is an incredible honour and responsibility that the Fathers are looking to us young people to help spread the mission of the Church. 

Catholic #MeToo

By Declan Riley

It has been refreshing to see the modern adjustments that the Church is making. It’s important to appreciate and understand the gender equality that should be incorporated into everything. Having the Pope address the role of women in the Church will leave people feeling more included and welcomed. 

One thing that I would have liked to have seen, though, is more education around the sexual abuse scandals within the Catholic Church. People need to be educated as to how these assaults happened and may still happen. Although it is a difficult topic to discuss, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, it is critical. 

The ability to love

By Michael Romen

The Instrumentum Laboris, or working document, of the synod mentions that “developing the ability to love remains the beauty and risk of youth.” The final document recognizes how real the danger of isolation is for young people. 

I also have many concerns, specifically with the LGBT terminology. I am sure that in the wake of the synod, the decision not to include such language will continue to be a point of controversy. Despite this, I applaud the Synod Fathers’ affirmations that it is reductive to define the individual’s identity on “sexual orientation.” 

This is not a retreat of the Church’s ministry but rather a reminder that despite the apparent need for elaboration, the Church’s teaching on love and responsibility is the truth and leads to the fullness of love. 

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