Our contribution to the Synod devoted to the youth26 September 2017
Marina from Brasil and Leandro from Argentina, attended a preparatory meeting for the XV General Assembly (Synod of Bishops) to be held in Rome in 2018 and will focus on the youth, faith and vocational discernment.
The aim of this meeting was to start pointing out the conditions of the youth through contributions from experts from the five continents and from some young people, spokespersons from various areas of the world. The aspect of the opening was the basic of the meeting, which was then developed around the themes of identity, planning, otherness, technology and transcendence.
The inspiration for this first part of the work came from Pope Francis’ words, who reminded the Church that her primary job is to listen to all the young people because each of them has something to say and no one has to feel excluded from this embrace. The invitation to a full 360 degree opening to all young people in the world was recurrent. They can be Christians, of other religions, atheists, agnostics and persons far away from the church.
In this space of universal listening, 5 youth shared their stories: a young 23-year Australian social worker, a 16-year-old DJ, an ex-jailed student and a theology teacher from Italy, as well as a refugee student from Syria. Their experiences have shown how even suffering situations can be transformed into donation opportunities, a love that generates life around, helped finding a first answer to a key question: “Who are the youth?” They are the generators; those who can help and help build a better world.
Among the challenges that the youth face in their human development life in the society is for sure the relationship with the future plan, and no longer represents it as the theme of work, because often the youth found themselves tight, Between his personal growth and the Growth of the economy and technology, which makes them see a future where machines could soon replace the man in his productive role in society.
To help better understand how to address these challenges, through Leonardo Becchetti’s help, he emphasized the importance of helping the youth develop themselves as a contribution to the common good in society and for its full accomplishment as a human being. Man, in fact, is not made from different dimensions, but they are the personal, spiritual and professional life that contributes in a complementary manner to the formation of the person himself and by activating the passion needed to “change the world”.
Through these premises, it was possible to address the migratory theme from another perspective, looking at it from within the development that allows the youth to move around the world, while taking into consideration the strong situation experienced by the refugees. A dinner was the occasion to open a relationship with the refugees living in Rome that led participants in the meeting to go deeper into their reality, problems and sufferings. An evening that was defined as a fraternity, a testimony of youth walking beyond their individualist borders, where in dialogue there was the great cultural diversity which in those days composed that piece of Church and refugees, coming from various parts of the world with the Muslim majority.
To consider the aspect of the otherness means to go deep into the reality of the youth, to enter into their questions, in a way that the youth not only have to go deep into their own humanity, but also to find their true identity. Because, as Pope Francis mentioned, “Every true vocation begins with a meeting with Jesus and there u can find the fullness of joy”. And then this dialogue continue with Jesus (or with life) which leads us to find the answers to the questions.
This actual perhaps is “How can the youth and their life projects fit in the society”? So many of the shadows touched: the relationship with the family and its structure no longer defined the social projects. And then the politics, where young people enter and engage often in an informal ways because they find no room to develop a direct participation, despite a great desire to transform public affairs.
The youth want to be considered as values that can give value. The need to listen and to give young people the opportunity to be active in a concrete way has been emerged. How can the Church, then, encourage the youth to realize their life projects in the society? How can it help the youth to come back to believe and feel that what they say is relevant and it can really become real?
Questions to which the path to the Synod can certainly help to give answers and make it urgent for the Church to learn to listen, to walk alongside, to give voice to the young and to help them understand themselves, making them able to design their own lives in function of the common good.