04 Oct 2018
Holy Father Opens Synod of Bishops
“Hope moves us – and asks us to rise to look directly at the faces of the young.”
(ANS – Vatican City – October 3) – One cannot conceive of the Church without the presence of young people. The Holy Father explained and repeated: “We need young people, living stones of a Church with a young face, but without make-up, that is, not rejuvenated, but renewed from within.”
The long-awaited Synod of Bishops on “Youth, faith, and vocational discernment,” is scheduled to meet October 3-28.
In the homily of the Mass celebrated in St. Peter’s Square, crowded with young people and the synod Fathers, Pope Francis said: “The young call us to care for them with commitment…. Do not leave them alone.”
The Pontiff urged the synod Fathers toward the work that was to begin that afternoon, and assured them that “the Church looks at you with trust and love.” He also spoke explicitly about two of the guests, bishops from China, Bishop John Baptist Yang Xiaoting of Yan’an and Bishop Joseph Guo Jincai of Chengde.
The two bishops, who bear witness to “the communion of the entire episcopate with the Successor of Peter,” as the Pope observed, are part of the 267 synodal Fathers; 23 experts and 49 auditors also are taking part in the Synod, including 34 youths between the ages of 18 and 29. The latter participate in the Synod, but will not have the right to vote, which is reserved for bishops.
The Rector Major of the Salesians, 15 other Salesians, and two Salesian sisters constitute the representatives of the Salesian Family taking part in this great event. In the 26 days of the Synod there will be three objectives, as highlighted by the general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri. The first is “to make the whole Church aware of her missionary commitment to accompany all young people to the joy of love that Jesus Christ offers to all new generations.” A second objective is “to become aware of the universal call of the concept of vocation and, consequently, of the link between youth ministry and pastoral care of vocations.” The third objective highlighted by the cardinal is “the ecclesial renewal promoted by Pope Francis.”
During the homily of the opening Mass, the Pope observed: “Hope moves us – and asks us to rise to look directly at the faces of the young.” Addressing the synod Fathers, he invited them to look to the Second Vatican Council and to the message of the Council Fathers to the young people of that time. He recalled the words of poet Friedrich Hölderlin – “Let man keep what he promised as a child” – and invited the synod Fathers to expand their hearts to understand the appeal of their brothers and put their energies at the service of the young.
Photo: © Servizio Fotografico – Vatican Media. Authorized use