Yesterday, I concelebrated Mass with all the Synod2018 Fathers as Pope Francis concluded the Synod on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment by presiding at the Eucharist in Saint Peter’s Basilica. It was a beautiful, reverent and joyful Eucharistic celebration that brought together all the insights, hopes, and dreams of everyone who was part of this extraordinary synodal journey. Now it is time to come home!
During the last few days, I have been reflecting upon how best to put into practice the many recommendations that were approved by the Synod Fathers and now sent to the Pope for his approval. What is clear to me is that the Synodal journey did not end at Saint Peter’s Basilica. Rather, I am convinced that it must continue in the months ahead among our own young people and young adults, who have their own desires, challenges, hopes, and fears. Whatever the Holy Father approves will need to be applied in concrete and practical ways in our own Diocese, with its wide diversity of young people. To make this happen, I will need their help.
For this reason, I am contemplating the possibility of calling a yearlong extraordinary gathering of our own youth and young adults. Perhaps it will be a 5th Diocesan Synod? Perhaps it may be a Youth Congress? In any case, we will do on the diocesan level what just occurred here in Rome. Armed with the Holy Father’s instruction and the Final Document of the Synod, we will walk a journey of listening, discernment and decision that must involve as many of our young people and young adults as possible. For if we wish to engage youth and young adults in the life of our Diocese, then we must invite them to become protagonists in the work of our Church and not simply hand them a document to read. I am ready to bring our young people together, for instruction, formation, discernment, and action, for their own sakes and for the long-term future of the Diocese.
What do you think? Any ideas on how to do this well? Please post your thoughts, suggestions, and concerns about how we can make the work of the Global Synod a reality in our own Diocese. I welcome your input as I prepare to choose a path in this regard in the coming weeks.
The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos!