Pope announces pre-Synod for youth in Rome next March
Pope Francis has announced a pre-Synodal meeting for young people from all over the world to be held in Rome from March 19-24, 2018 in preparation for the Synod of Bishops assembly on “Youth, Faith and Vocation Discernment,” which will be held in October 2018.
He made the announcement towards the end of his Wednesday General Audience. “Young people from various parts of the world are invited – young Catholics, young people from various Christian denominations and other religions or non-believing young people,” he told the crowd gathered at St Peter’s Square.
The format of the meeting will be slightly more flexible than the meeting in Rome last Palm Sunday. Young people from across the world gathered to take stock of the Krakow World Youth Day (WYD) program and to begin preparations for the next event in Panama which will be held in Jan’19.
However, there is no plan to make any changes to the World Youth Day events held in dioceses each year by adding a “mini WYD” on Palm Sunday, which falls on March 25, 2018. Pope John Paul II launched the original idea for World Youth Day on Palm Sunday 1984, when he gathered 250,000 young people in Rome to celebrate the Jubilee of the Redemption.
“Several hundred young people are expected to attend,” Pope Francis told the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. “To decide who will attend, we will work with bishops’ conferences, as they are the ones who understand local realities best.” “In this way, the Church is opening itself up to the voices, feelings, and faith – as well as the doubts and criticisms – of young people,” the pope explained. “We need to listen to young people!” he insisted, leaving aside his prepared text.
The pope added that “the conclusions of the meeting in March will be passed on to the Synod Fathers”. The outcomes from the meeting will also be included in the working document, which is to be prepared by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.
The document will be based on answers to the questionnaire distributed to bishops’ conferences, another questionnaire for young people on the Synod website youth.synod2018.va, and possibly various other sources, e.g. the seminar on youth that was held at the beginning of September.