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Bishops, Young People, Faith And Vocational Discernment

In the next General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to be held in October 2018, bishops from across the world will gather to focus on young people, faith and vocational discernment. In preparation for the Synod, Pope Francis has written a preparatory document and a letter to young people (both available on the Vatican Website). Young people ages 18-29 are called to share their views on life, faith and experience of Church.

Pope Francis invites dioceses, parishes, and various communities to participate in the process and he encourages all of us to walk with young people, accompanying them in their faith journey and in their life searching. Interestingly, the commitment to accompaniment is also the central focus of our NAVFD Conference to be held in Hamilton, Ontario in April 2018.

In the preparatory document for the Synod, Pope Francis states: “Accompanying young people requires going beyond a pre-conceived framework, encountering young people where they are, adapting to their times and pace of life and taking them seriously.” He continues, “This is to be done as young people seek to make sense of the reality in which they live and utilize the message which they have received in words and deeds in their daily attempts to create a personal history and in the more-or-less conscious search for meaning in their lives.”

The preparatory document is of immense value to vocation and formation directors, pastoral ministers, youth ministers, teachers and chaplains in schools, colleges, and universities and for parishes and other faith communities. It is replete with very practical ideas, points for discussion, and other helpful suggestions as we engage with young people in light of the Gospel for our times. For those of us working in vocation ministry it is GIFT indeed.