10 January 2019

An International Youth Forum to be convened

After the Synod of Bishops and the forthcoming World Youth Day in Panama, the Dicastery for Laity Family and Life has announced that an International Youth Forum is to be convened next June on the reception and continuation of the Synodal journey

On the eve of the World Youth Day (Panama, 22-27 January 2019), the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life has announced an initiative related to the impact of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment.

In addition to the preparatory phase (articles 5-10) and celebrative phase (articles 11-18), Pope Francis’s latest Apostolic Exhortation Episcopalis Communio” (15 September 2018), envisages an implementation phase by the Synod Assembly (articles 19-21). This latter phase refers to the reception and realisation of the Assembly’s conclusions which must be promoted both by the particular churches and the Bishops’ Conferences, as well as by those bodies in the Roman Curia competent to deal with the Synod theme.

According to its Statutes, the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life “expresses the particular concern of the Church for the young, promoting their agency in the midst of the challenges of today’s world.  It supports the initiatives of the Holy Father in the field of youth ministry and is at the service of the Episcopal Conferences, of international youth associations. Promoting their collaboration and organizing meetings on an international level. An important aspect of its activity is the preparation of the World Youth Days.” (art. 8).

Thus, even if much of the Dicastery’s energy has been directed during the past months to the preparation of the World Youth Day, we are particularly eager that in the context of youth ministry, the conclusions of the last Synodal Assembly on “Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment” be received and realised. In this connection, we will be organising an International Youth Forum from 18 to 22 June 2019 in Rome.

The Synod has been a great Kairòs and we cannot waste this enthusiasm or let the strong impulse with which the Holy Spirit is imbuing the Church through young people, pass by.  The Forum will be a space for community discernment, maintaining the synodal missionary style promoted by the Synod (see the Final Document, nos. 119-124).

Delegates of the Episcopal Conferences and the major ecclesial movements and communities will be invited to the Youth Forum with widespread international diffusion.  We hope that some young Auditors from the last Synod (who were known as the “young synodals”) can be present in order to transmit their experience, in addition to counting on the attendance of some youth ministry specialists at international level.

The main objective will be that of reception, at international level, of the impulses of the Synod,  starting primarily from the  Final Document of the Synod of Bishops, and presumably also from a  post-synod document  that the Holy Father will, in all probability, have published by that date.

In conclusion, we have thought of this meeting as being a very concrete way of achieving the Synodal Fathers’ request: “that the activity of the Youth Office of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life be reinforced also by the creation of a representative body of young people at international level” (no. 123).