The voice of Youth in the Church


Pope Francis, in his line of opening the doors of the Church and announce the Gospel of Joy to everyone, he has called the Synod of the Bishops with the theme: “Youth, Faith and vocational discernment”. On January 13, 2017, a preparatory document was published by the XV General Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of the Bishops with this same title.

And the obvious questions are: “What is a Synod, how does it work and what is it for?” The term Synod comes from two greek terms: syn (together) and yhodos (way), and expresses the idea of “walking together”. In the Vatican there are several organisms that form the Roman Curia and they are in charge of the government of the Church, looking after different sectors and areas. But there was an existing concern for having a structure where the universal church was represented in the way of an assembly of bishops from all over the world who could help the Pope in the government of the church through their advice. And that’s how Pope Paul VI created, on September 15, 1965, the Synod of the Bishops, as a permanent institution, depending directly of the Pope.


The Synod of the Bishops gathers every time the Pope calls the meeting and with the subject that is recommended for study, analysis, debate and consultation. It’s presided by the Pope and has a long preparatory process so that the work document, that’s called “Instrumentum laboris”, and is the basis for the discussion of the Synod, is a true result of the enquiry to all the Church.

                A Synod about, for and with youth: Pope Francis has already made two Synods: The Synod of the New Evangelization and the Synod of the Family. His proposal is that God’s project for men and women of all times reaches everyone and all scopes of life, without exceptions. And that’s why this third Synod that’s been called, invited us to ask ourselves how to accompany youth in the path of faith, in their vital decisions, and asks also the youth to help identify the best ways to announce the Good News.

                Roadmap: with the publication of the preparatory Document, on January 13, 2017, the enquiry phase was opened. Its pretends to involve all those who represent the youth sector of the Church, the responsible of Youth and Vocational Pastoral, the Parishes, Religious Institutes, Youth and Ecclesial Movements, Diocese, national and continental assemblies… Meetings and congresses are organized, in which the proposals for the Synod should be brought up. Also a website was created where we can follow the process ( , participate in the debates and elaborate a survey for all youth, ages 16-29, who want to participate. The idea is to reach all youth, believers or not, all cultures, regardless their religion or origin.

                When all information, proposals and surveys are gathered, they will proceed to elaborate, before May 2018, the Instrumentum laboris (Working document), which will be discussed during the Synod from 3-18 October 2018. All that will be worked and discussed during the Synod will be collected in a document of Minutes of the Synod, which will be handed to the Pope and with which he will elaborate a document that will be published under the name of Apostolic Exhortation (is the publication that will collect all discussed during the Synod).


“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn 15:11). This is God’s plan for all men and women in every age, including all the young men and women of the Third Millennium, without exception.

Proclaiming the joy of the Gospel is the mission entrusted by the Lord to his Church. The Synod on the New Evangelization and the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium treated how to accomplish this mission in today’s world. The two synods on the family and the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia were, instead, dedicated to helping families find this joy.

In keeping with this mission and introducing a new approach through a Synod with the topic, “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment”, the Church has decided to examine herself on how she can lead young people to recognize and accept the call to the fullness of life and love, and to ask young people to help her in identifying the most effective ways to announce the Good News today. By listening to young people, the Church will once again hear the Lord speaking in today’s world. As in the days of Samuel (cf. 1 Sam 3:1-21) and Jeremiah (cf. Jer 1:4-10), young people know how to discern the signs of our times, indicated by the Spirit. Listening to their aspirations, the Church can glimpse the world which lies ahead and the paths the Church is called to follow.”


Agueda Mariño csd

Águeda Mariño Rico, csd

December 2017

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