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Where are young people today?

January 19, 2018

Where are young people today?

That is really the question that the Church hopes to address this year.
In October 2018, bishops from around the world will, once again, gather in Rome for a Synod. The topic of this meeting is Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.
Proclaiming the joy of the Gospel is the mission of the Church and all the synods are geared towards this mission. Now, the Church wants to see 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 in identifying the most effective ways to announce the Good News today.
And so, the Church around the world has been asked to speak to young people. In dioceses everywhere, bishops and youth leaders are asking young people where they are? What do they believe? What they would change in the Church? We began that process here at S+L with a forum with young people in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Windsor, Montreal and Quebec City.
In preparation for the Synod, the Secratariat of Synods released a preparatory document. This document includes several questions in various categories: Questions for youth, questions about pastoral and vocational programs for young people and specific questions by region.
Some of these questions are:
  • What are the main challenges and most significant opportunities for young people in your country / countries today?
  • How are families and communities involved in the vocational discernment of young people?
  • What personal guidance is offered in seminaries?
  • How is the language used in a young people’s world incorporated in the pastoral care of young people, especially in the media, sports and music?
They are all excellent questions and the Church seeks to learn and grow with its answers.
When I met with young people from the diocese of London, Ontario in Windsor, as we were preparing for our Youth Forum, many more fundamental issues came up regarding what it means that the Church is listening:
What does it mean that the Church is listening to me? What would that look like? How does a young person know that the Church is listening?
It was with that in mind that we decided to continue our conversations with young people. The point is not to have them ask us questions so we can answer; it's not even about asking them questions; it is about listening to them:
What is important to them?
What do they find difficult?
What are their hopes?
What do they worry about?
Do they believe in God and what place does faith/religion have in their life?
These are the types of questions and conversations that we are having with young people.

That is the aim of our new monthly series, TAKING THE PULSE.

It is our hope that, by listening to young people, the Church will once again hear the Lord speaking in today’s world and can glimpse the paths the Church is called to follow.
Tune in this Sunday, January 21 at 8:30pm ET / 5:30pm PT for Taking the Pulse with a young engaged couple, Noah and Martha. They speak about their faith, their fears, their hopes and how they make big decisions in life.
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