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The Synod of Bishops on youth
Pope Francis has achieved much for the Catholic Church during the first five years of his papacy. There was a special Year for Consecrated Religious at the beginning of his papacy, a year for the Family. Then there was the Year of Mercy in which he concentrated on the mercy of God. His encyclical Laudato Si’ calling for the caring of the planet earth, is particularly significant given the troubled world in which we live. The Jesuits, the religious order to which the Pope belongs, intend to establish a Laudato Si’ Institute at Campion Hall, Oxford, to deal with the problems facing the planet.
Pope Francis sent a letter to those young people attending the Synod. He wrote: “My dear Young People, I am pleased to announce that in October 2018, the synod of bishops will meet to treat the topic "Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment". I want you to be the centre of attention, because you are in my heart.” The Synod of Bishops also wrote a letter to the youth attending the Synod. “We the Synod of Fathers now address you, young people of the world with a word of hope, trust and consolation. In these days we have gathered together to hear the voice of Jesus, the eternally young Christ, and to recognise in Him your many voices, your shouts of exultation, your cries and your moments of silence. The church and the world urgently need your enthusiasm. Be sure to make the most fragile people, the poor and those wounded by life, your travelling companions. You are the present, be a brighter future.”
The young people told the Pope that they share his dream of a church that goes out, that is open, “particularly for the weakest ones, a church that is a field hospital.” They also said that they wanted to work concretely in improving the cities and schools, the socio-political world and the place of work, spreading a culture of peace and solidarity, putting the poorest at the centre, in whom Jesus himself is recognised. “The world changes,” they said, “and we must change with it.”
Pope Francis told the youth: “I am reminded of the words which God spoke to Abraham: “Go from your country and your kindred and your Father’s house to the land I will show you” (Gen 1). These are the words of a father who invites you to “go” to set out towards a future that is unknown but a future that will surely lead to fulfilment, a future to which God himself accompanies you. I invite you to hear God’s voice resounding in your heart.”
Pope Francis and the Synod of Bishops that ended on the 28th October have put a different ecclesiology into motion in presenting a Church that listens, that “walks” with people, giving women a role in decision-making, and ends with governing the edicts issued from on high. The prophetic essence of what is now taking place in the mind of Pope Francis is to say good bye to the pyramidal model of the Catholic Church handed down by Constantine the Great when he proclaimed Catholicism as the religion of the Roman Empire. I feel that Pope Francis would see the church as the “family of God.” Pope John XX!!1 prayed for a new Pentecost for Vatican 11. Pope Francis frequently speaks of the need to discern the will of God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Josephine Egan DHS, EIW Province - November 2018.