Pope Francis walks with World Youth Day pilgrims July 30, 2016. The upcoming Synod of Bishops' focus is on youth. CNS photo/Paul Haring

Speaking Out: The Church’s future counts on young people

By  Patrick Peori, Youth Speak News
  • February 3, 2017

In general, I’m a pretty hopeful person about the future of the Church, even more so with the announcement of the theme for next year’s Synod of Bishops.

Pope Francis announced late last year the theme for the synod in October 2018 is “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.” This announcement fills my heart with joy because I, for one, am definitely tired of hearing that the Church is leaving young people behind and that it lacks a future. Recognizing and including young people is absolutely essential in all parts of the Catholic Church.

It’s also important for young people to be given the opportunity to lead. This revitalization is essential for the growth of our local parishes and the universal Church. It’s critical for dioceses to have strong youth ministries in its parishes. It’s important that dioceses establish strong vocations offices to attract young people to serve their Church.

The problem is young people don’t know how to get involved. It’s great that strong youth offices are established, but we need youth in those offices.

We only need to look to the countless examples of the lives of young saints to see how impactful young people can be. Their lives are examples of how the energy of young people can be used for the good of our Church.

When local parishes need help, they should call on youth. Whether it be a BBQ, a fun day or a parish supper, giving young people the opportunity to help will give them more responsibility.

Additionally, it’s about time young people understand that vocation doesn’t need to be a scary word or that it will force them to give up everything for the Lord.

There are many resources to help discern and understand the call the Lord may be placing on their heart. Actively discerning your own vocation is a great way to grow with others and embrace one’s identity in relationship with Christ. Vocations should be approached as helping young people become the greatest person they can be.

I’m hopeful when the bishops meet in 2018 they will determine ways we can build up young people as leaders in the Church and in the world. I think this synod can be an opportunity to create missionaries who boldly share the love of Christ.

It will create doctors who stand up for the right to life and educators who share the Gospel clearly and simply with those in the school system. It will make better husbands, priests, wives, nuns, sisters and consecrated singles who will give their “yes” to Jesus every day and serve Him with joy and humility.

I have expectant faith for this synod. My great hope is that by including young people in the process, we will feel more involved in the Church and more empowered to lead the Church with new energy in creative ways.

(Peori, 19, is a second-year Journalism student at Carleton University in Ottawa.)

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