The first session of the youth synod began in the Synod Hall. The very first step when all gathered inside was praying for God to guide these three weeks of assembly.
Cardinal Sako, Chaldean patriarch, spoke on behalf of the Synod Fathers and expressed his support for the pope.
“We are sure that the storms, however strong they may be, will pass away and the Church will come out purer and stronger. This synod is truly a grace and a blessing for the Church in today’s world.”
Pope Francis explained the synod should be a time for sharing and, above all, for listening. He regretted that on too many occasions the voice of young people has not been taken into account.
The pope said, “The path of preparation for this moment has highlighted a Church that needs to listen, including those young people who often do not feel understood by the Church in their originality and therefore not accepted for who they really are, and sometimes even rejected.”
He invited the elders to take the young seriously and also for the young not to believe they know everything. This is why he called for dialogue to be established, without falling into the temptation of prejudices and stereotypes.
“A Church that does not listen shows herself closed to newness, closed to God’s surprises, and cannot be credible, especially for the young who will inevitably turn away rather than approach.”
In his speech, the pope also spoke of clericalism. He asked for none of the participants at the synod to believe their vocation implies power rather than service.
Finally, Pope Francis asked the synod participants not to allow themselves to be carried away by pessimism. He ended it with a touch of humor making this invitation to them.
“Let us therefore work to ‘spend time with the future,’ to take from this synod not merely a document – that generally is only read by a few, and criticized by many – but above all concrete pastoral proposals capable of fulfilling the synod’s purpose.”
The first day was closed by the Secretary of the Synod, Cardinal Baldisseri, and the relator general, Cardinal Da Rocha. They offered some practical indications for this third synod assembly of Pope Francis’ pontificate.