Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment
During March 19-24, 2018, more than 300 young representatives from around the world (including 5 from the USA) convened in Rome at the inaugural Pre-Synodal Meeting of Young People.
Over the course of the week, the representatives took part in large-group and small language-group discussions, and responded to fifteen questions.
Their answers were synthesized into one final document, and will be incorporated into the Instrumentum Laboris (Working Document), the basis for the Synod Fathers’ deliberations in October.
Read this document posted at:
> What insights might you take from this document for your local community?
> Did anything surprise you in reading this document?
> Did you find anything in this document to affirm your current faith community efforts?
(Diocesan News Release)
All young people ages 16 – 29, (Catholic and non-Catholics alike)
have been invited to participate via social media with a gathering in Rome March 19 – 24, 2018.
315 young people (including 5 from the United States) will be travelling to Rome for a Pre-Synodal Meeting for an “opportunity for young people to produce a document, which expresses their view on the state of things, their ideas, their feelings and their recommendations, to be presented to the bishops and cardinals who will meet in October 2018 with Pope Francis to treat the topic: ”Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.’”
Young people from all around the world, however, can also participate by responding to 15 Hashtags using their social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.) which are listed online at:
Please help us to extend this invitation to young people ages 16 – 29.
For more information, please contact Cindee Case, Office of Youth & Young Adult Ministry, by phone: 330-744-8451 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Information has also been posted at: https://youngstownoyyam.weebly.com/synod-on-youth-2018.html
On March 1st, Tom East, Director of the Center for Ministry Development facilitated a one day training in Ravenna for about 25 parish and campus ministry leaders on Accompanying Youth on their Journey of Faith and Discernment.
After an opening prayer, we discussed the concept of accompaniment. We have to let go of preconceived frameworks for our ministries with young people, including our tendency to wait for the teens to come to our programs... we have to change our perspective.
When we read the Emmaus story (Luke 24: 13 - 35), notice that Christ LISTENED first to the travelers and allowed them to share their disappointments and hopes. He walked along side them and listened.
How can we better listen without judgement and walk along side the young people of our community? (We can also notice that Jesus was not waiting in a temple... he joined the travelers on the road...)
Mr. East reminded us that we are to reach out to all the young people of the parish community (and geography), not just those who show up at Mass and programs, and not even only those that have been Baptized.
One key to this ministry of accompaniment is to recognize that God is already part of each young people's life, since conception. We need to talk with them about the conversation God has been having in his/her life... they may need help recognizing it in themselves, and to see how God is at work in their daily lives, but we seldom "bring them to Christ" as Christ is and has been with them!
Tom shared many tools for accompanying, transforming our programs, and becoming a faith companion. It is important for parents, grandparents, godparents, catechists, teachers, youth ministers, coaches, group leaders, Confirmation sponsors, and even peers to take time to pray, connect, listen, empathize, care, and witness with young people.
The second session of the workshop was regarding ways to guide youth in discernment. One of the many resources shared on this topic was a "Simple Three-Minute Ignation Method" that can be used every day:
1. Spend the first minute thanking God the Father for all the blessings received that day.
2. Spend the second minute reviewing your failings and ask Jesus the Son for forgiveness.
3. In the final minute, ask the Holy Spirit for the strength and courage to live a better tomorrow.
One of the biggest differences we can make in the lives of young people is to foster a habit of daily prayer. Workshop participants were challenged to brainstorm ways to help youth pray. We also shared resources that can help. A great example that was shared was of a young man who set 4 alarms on his cell phone to remind him when the phone vibrated to pray.
Tom also shared ideas on breaking open the Synod Preparatory document, which can be found online at:
The key questions include:
> What should we do to transform our ministries using accompaniment as a model?
> What should we stop doing?
> What are some ways to encourage the faith community in walking with youth?
To learn more about the Center for Ministry Development,
visit their website at:
To read a blog post by Tom East on this topic, visit:
If you participated in the workshop, please comment below with any additional insights, ideas or strategies that you noted during the day!
Cindee Case, MPS
Director of the Diocese of Youngstown Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.