Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, explained at a press conference held at the Vatican the objectives of the pre-synodal meeting, to be held in Rome from March 19-24, to prepare for the Synod of Bishops on young people, faith and vocational discernment.
According to the Purpure, these are the ten objectives of the upcoming October event:
1- Let young people be the protagonists. "It is an event in which young people will be actors and protagonists. It will not only be about them, but they themselves will do the talking: with their language, their enthusiasm and their sensitivity. The next Synod of Bishops, in fact, does not want to be only a Synod on young people and for young people, but also a Synod of young people and with young people," he said.
2- Listen to their situations. "A key word, often repeated by the Pope, is 'listening,'" he recalled. For this reason, "in this pre-synodal meeting we will listen to young people live, live, to try to better understand their situations: what they think of themselves and of adults, how they live the faith and what difficulties they encounter in being Christians, how they project their lives and what problems they encounter in discerning their vocation, how they see the Church today and how they would like it."
3- Listen also to those who come from discarded situations. The third objective is to listen also to those young people "who come from situations of discarded and existential peripheries", who "often have not had the opportunity to make themselves heard in order to make their situation known. In addition, there will also be the presence of non-Catholic, non-Christian and non-believing young people, so that the listening to the young people will be as '360 degrees' as possible".
4- Put yourself in the place of young people. On the other hand, "the pre-synodal meeting will be the occasion to put ourselves in the situation of young people: keeping in mind that the Synod is, by definition, a journey made together. We want to show what it means in a concrete way to walk together with young people, with all young people, without excluding anyone".
5- Individualize pastoral paths. In this sense, he stressed that "walking with young people also means individualizing the specific pastoral paths that allow the Christian community to consolidate its youth pastoral projects, adapting them to the needs of today's youth".
6- Listen also to those who live with young people. "In the pre-synodal meeting, together with the young people, we participated some parents, educators, priests, pastoral workers and experts of the youth world, in order to listen also to those who live together with young people and possess the instruments to read from within and in depth their situation."
7- Propose youth-adult collaboration. In this way, "we also want to propose a method of intergenerational exchange and collaboration, favoring dialogue between young people and adults, who often, in everyday reality, work to communicate with each other".
8 - Encounter between cultures. The pre-synodal meeting "seeks to create dynamics of participation based on the encounter between cultures, living conditions, beliefs and disciplines, elaborating a model that could be repeated in different ecclesial realities".
9- Help them find meaning in their lives. The Secretary General of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops pointed out that "we are asking ourselves how to help young people to seek and find meaning in their lives, in light of the specific vocational perspective that Pope Francis wanted to imprint on the synodal journey".
10- Prepare a document to be delivered to Pope Francis. Finally, "the pre-synodal meeting will draw up a shared document that the Pope will sign on Sunday, March 25, and that will come together, together with the other contributions made, in the Instrumentum laborisThe document on which the Synod Fathers will debate next October".
A step towards the Synod
The Cardinal recalled that this pre-synodal meeting "is not an isolated event, but a stage on the road of preparation for next October's Synod".
He affirmed that, since the publication of the Preparatory Document for the Synod, following the XV Ordinary General Assembly of October 6, "many ecclesial realities have undertaken all kinds of initiatives that have anticipated at the local level the development of the pre-synodal meeting".
In addition, he revealed some data on the Questionnaire of January 13, 2017 to prepare for the work of the Synod. About 221,000 young people have filled out the Questionnaire, of whom 100,500 have answered all the questions: 58,000 girls and 42,500 boys.
Nearly 51,000 participants, 50.6% of those who filled out the questionnaire completely, are young people between the ages of 16 and 19, "which shows that the youngest are the ones who have shown the greatest sensitivity to the initiative".
The most represented continent is Europe, with 56.4% of participants completing the Questionnaire. This was followed by South-Central America, with 19.8%, and Africa, with 18.1%.
Among the participants who filled out the questionnaire, 73.9% declared themselves Catholics who consider religion important, while the rest are Catholics who do not consider religion important (8.8%), non-Catholics who consider religion important (6.1%) and non-Catholics who do not consider religion important (11.1%).