VATICAN INSIDER, PART II: ARCHBISHOP GARCIA SILLER ON V ENCUENTRO – POPE TO YOUTH: WE WANT TO HEAR YOUR VOICE FOR 2018 SYNOD

Pope Francis tweeted today: Children forced to flee, especially if fleeing alone, are most defenseless and vulnerable. Let’s pray for them and help them. @M_RSection

VATICAN INSIDER, PART II: ARCHBISHOP GARCIA SILLER ON V ENCUENTRO

Vatican Insider’s interview segment offers Part II of my conversation with San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia Siller as we talk about the V Encuentro and other topics during a visit he made to Rome.

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The V Encuentro is a four-year process of ecclesial reflection and action that invites all Catholics in the United States to intense missionary activity, consultation, leadership development, and identification of best ministerial practices in the spirit of the New Evangelization. It is part of the priority activity of the USCCB’s Strategic Plan for 2017-2020. The V Encuentro (5th Encounter) started this very month at the grass roots level and calls for the development of resources and initiatives to better serve the fast growing Hispanic population in dioceses, parishes, ecclesial movements, and other Catholic organizations and institutions in light of its theme Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love.

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POPE TO YOUTH: WE WANT TO HEAR YOUR VOICE FOR 2018 SYNOD

In view of the 2018 synod on on the theme: “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment,” Pope Francis has written a letter to young people. It was revealed Friday ahead of a press conference at the Holy See Press Office to present the preparatory document for the Synod.

The Vatican document focuses far more on getting input from young people, learning who they are and what they want as they grow up and live in an era so different from their parents and pastors. And that is what the Pope says in his Letter to young people: the Church wants “to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith, even your doubts and your criticism.” He wants youth to tell him, the bishops and pastors about their hopes and struggles. “Make your voice heard. Let it resonate in communities and let it be heard by your shepherds of souls.”

He starts the Letter by teling youth, “I wanted you to be the center of attention, because you are in my heart. Today, the (synod) Preparatory Document is being presented, a document which I am also entrusting to you as your “compass” on this synodal journey.”

“I would also,” said the Pope, “remind you of the words that Jesus once said to the disciples who asked him: ‘Teacher […] where are you staying’ He replied, ‘Come and see’.  Jesus looks at you and invites you to go with him. Dear young people, have you noticed this look towards you? Have you heard this voice? Have you felt this urge to undertake this journey? I am sure that, despite the noise and confusion seemingly prevalent in the world, this call continues to resonate in the depths of your heart so as to open it to joy in its fullness. This will be possible to the extent that, even with professional guides, you will learn how to undertake a journey of discernment to discover God’s plan in your life. Even when the journey is uncertain and you fall, God, rich in mercy, will extend his hand to pick you up.”

The Pope noted that, “In Krakow, at the opening of the last World Youth Day, I asked you several times: ‘Can we change things?’ And you shouted: ‘yes!’ That shout came from your young and youthful hearts, which do not tolerate injustice and cannot bow to a ‘throw-away culture’ nor give in to the globalization of indifference. Listen to the cry arising from your inner selves!”

“A better world,” continued Francis, “can be built also as a result of your efforts, your desire to change and your generosity. Do not be afraid to listen to the Spirit who proposes bold choices; do not delay when your conscience asks you to take risks in following the Master. The Church also wishes to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith; even your doubts and your criticism. Make your voice heard, let it resonate in communities and let it be heard by your shepherds of souls.”

“Such is the case,” Pope Francis ended his letter to young people, “even in the journey of this Synod. My brother bishops and I want even more to “work with you for your joy” I entrust you to Mary of Nazareth, a young person like yourselves, whom God beheld lovingly, so she might take your hand and guide you to the joy of fully and generously responding to God’s call with the words: ‘Here I am’.”