This week, Bishop Steve Lowe, the Bishop Hamilton will leave for Rome to attend the 2018 Synod of Bishops which this year is focused on young people. This Synod is the next step of almost two years of collaborative work from throughout the global Catholic Church.
Pope Francis announced the theme of the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment” on 6 October 2016. Since then, in preparation for the Synod, a process of listening to and reflection by young people.
Last year the Holy Father invited young people to participate in a global survey to better understand the lives, attitudes and concerns of young people in the real circumstances of their lives in the various parts of the world and to gain an appreciation of their thoughts about faith, the Church and living their faith in the world today.
New Zealand’s ownsurvey received almost 2000 responses from throughout the country. The survey, for those aged 16 – 29 years, asked questions and opinions of them around the Church, challenges and opportunities in their lives and thoughts on vocation. A report summarising the findings was sent to Rome.
Earlier this year, 300 young people from across the world gathered in Rome or took part via social media to participate in a six day Pre-Synodal Meeting. New Zealander, Isabella McCafferty, was invited by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops to represent New Zealand at the meeting and assist in work to produce a document that has been presented to the Synodal Fathers in their preparation for the October Synod.
Bishop Steve said, “taking care of young people in our Church is an integral part of its vocation and mission. I acknowledge the tremendous preparatory work our young people in New Zealand have undertaken to prepare for this Synod and on behalf of the Catholic Bishops of New Zealand, I want them to know I will carry their voices with me on this journey.”
The fruit of the Synod will be Pope Francis preparing a post-Synod document on young people in the life and mission of the Church.