02 October 2018
Towards the Synod of the Young

Are we still free with smartphones in hand?

Thousands of students from Romanian Catholic high schools are participating in a national educational program

“It seems like smartphones and tablets have always existed, but they appeared just over a decade ago. Moreover, they are not—as we are led to believe—empty boxes but full jars and a multitude of global companies, bent on filling them, are working with the logic of profit and not that of educating. Therefore, in time of the seemingly infinite options, the very young have the illusion of choosing (music, video games, chat, etc.), but often others have already chosen for them and they have rarely made choices in view of their good.” This was said by Marco Brusati, a collaborator of our Dicastery, director of Hope and curator of the initiative World Youth Hope—in conjunction with the Youth Ministry Office of the Greek-Catholic Diocese of Oradea directed by Fr. Paul Popa—in which thousands of students in the Catholic high schools in Romania are participating.

Each meeting will start with an introductory report with many incitements for making media tools into subjects rather than objects; then, there will be group work, led by high school teachers specially trained in a meeting held in Brasov on September 5th, aimed at elaborating two outputs: a collective global message and a personal life project, which will then also be dealt with during the school year, especially in hours devoted to religion.

The meetings will be held in October—precisely on the 5th in Cluj Napoca, on the 12th in Blaj, on the 19th and the 20th in Bucharest, and on the 26th in Oradea.

The initiative is being actively supported by Msgr. Virgil Bercea, Bishop of the Greek Catholic Diocese of Oradea and head of the Youth Commission of the Romanian Episcopal Conference: “There is an educational challenge of primary importance here—says the Bishop—because what comes through the media system enters the real life of our boys and our girls. I am, therefore, convinced that the World Youth Hope initiative can offer a Christian-oriented response to concrete issues concerning the young in relation to the media world which have also emerged during the preparatory work for the Synod.”