Following on from Pope Francis’ announcement at the end of his general audience on Wednesday, a note from the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops confirmed that a special meeting of young people will take place from 19 – 24 March 2018 in preparation for next October’s Synod.
The meeting will be organised by the Synod Secretariat, together with the office for Laity, Family and Life. The aim is to encourage young people from around the world, from different Churches and religious traditions, to share their hopes, doubts and worries ahead of the Synod, which will be dedicated to the theme ‘Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment’.
Preparatory stages of Synod
The note goes on to say that this encounter continues a tradition of pre-Synod meetings, such as the ones which took place in 1987 on the mission of laity in the Church and the world and the Special Assembly for Europe in 1991.
Representatives of Churches, religions, vocations
Among those invited to the meeting will be young representatives of bishops’ conferences, Oriental Churches, seminarians, consecrated men and women, ecclesial movements and associations, schools and universities, the world of work, sports and the arts, volunteers and those on the margins of society. They will be accompanied by experts, teachers and others involved in helping young people make important life decisions.
The note says that this meeting will further enrich the consultative phase of the Synod, which was begun by the Preparatory Document, the on-line questionnaire and the international seminar which took place here in Rome in September.
Conclude with Palm Sunday celebration
The date of this pre-Synod meeting has been timed to take place in the week leading up to Palm Sunday, so that all participants, at the end of the sessions, can take part in the Eucharist celebrated by Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square. The Palm Sunday Mass also marks the Church’s XXXIII World Youth Day, focused on the theme from Luke’s Gospel: “Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favour with God”.