Open and lively start to Youth Synod

youth synod

Nathanaël Lamataki, a New Caledonia University student (4th-year Law) from Païta parish, is the official representative of the CEPAC Youth at the Bishops Synod.

He is pictured above in St Peter’s Square, on the opening day, with a diocesan priest of New Caledonia, Fr Jean-Paul Pouillet, who is having a 3-week break in France.

“A great honour for him and the whole Archdiocese of Noumea!” said Marist priest François Grossin.

Païta is a city in New Caledonia, a little north-west of Noumea, the country’s capital.

Lamataki is one of many young people from all over the world attending the Synod on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment at the Vatican.

Some 34 young people have been invited to attend the gathering, and each will have the opportunity to give a brief, 4-minute reflection along with the cardinals and other bishops participating.

The Synod began with opening speeches at the plenary session in the Synod Hall in the Vatican.

Of the speeches given on the first day, 25 came from synod fathers, and one from a young American woman, Briana Regina Santiago, who is a member of the lay community of the Apostles of the Interior Life.

The atmosphere was described as “open and lively,” thanks mainly to the presence of young people who readily – and sometimes noisily – expressed their approval, and to the pope’s availability during the breaks.

Already two main tendencies can be discerned within the Synod.

  • Some believe that the Church must change its way of being, in order to reach out towards young people
  • Others believe that the way to reach young people is not by flattering them or going along with what they want, but rather by reaffirming the Church’s teachings

The dominant theme seems to be the need for authenticity on the Church’s part.

“Young people want us to be witnesses of the Gospel through our actions rather than our words,” pointed out Cardinal José Tissera of Quilmes from Argentina.

The speech of one of the synod fathers made a particular impression.

In a moving tone, he directly addressed the young people asking forgiveness for the Church’s failings towards them, with sexual abuse being the main one of these shortcomings.


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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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