(ANS – Rome – March 19) – In a long, profound interview, Fr. Rossano Sala, SDB, special secretary of the Synod of Bishops, spoke to us about the situation of youth, the Church, and the next synod, clearly illustrating the need to listen to the world of young people. The theme of the forthcoming synod closely examines the Salesians, who live for the young, question them, and invites them to live the synodal experience like children of a saint who knew how to live in a relationship of trust, friendship, and familiarity among the young.
What does this pre-synodal meeting of young people mean?
The synod conceived by Pope Francis is a moment to give the floor to young people, a moment when the Church must be convinced that we cannot talk about young people if we do not let them talk if we have not listened to them first. The pre-synodal meeting is a moment when young people can express their opinions without filters.
What do young people want from the Church?
Many episcopal conferences show that young people ask nothing of the Church. They are irritated by the presence of the Church and do not feel at ease within it. We ask ourselves: are they young nihilists, are they young people who hate us? No! Behind these considerations there are motivations that should make us reflect.
So, what happens with the young?
More than others, young people are scandalized by sexual and economic scandals. Young people expect priests to be ministers who are prepared and available to dialog…. There are many reasons why young people do not follow us because we are not meaningful for them…. Instead, they want a Church that becomes a home, a family, a Church that is a place of welcome, where a young person can feel good.…
Young people ask that the Church be a family. Is this not a Salesian message?
For us Salesians, these words are beautiful and important. We have received from Don Bosco what is called the family spirit. The fact that a young person feels at home, feels welcomed, can speak openly, and can enter a family-like contact is part of our spirituality. Let’s think about what Don Bosco’s “Letter from Rome” means, which speaks of trust, friendship, familiarity….
The complete video interview with Fr. Sala is available in Italian on ANSChannel.
The “Letter from Rome” is available in several places: the SDB Constitutions, pp. 258-268; Salesian Sources, pp. 501-510; pamphlet from Salesiana Publishers (914-636-4225).