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What Happened?

In 2016 Pope Francis announced that a Synod would take place on the topic Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment.

Since then there were a vast amount of attempts to consult and hear from young people from all around the world, some more successful than others.

One of the most exciting was the pre-synod meeting in March 2018 where hundreds of young people from around the world came to Rome to shared their own realities and share their hopes for the Synod based on their own experiences as well as thousands of others who contributed online.

The young were a huge part of Synod meeting that took place in September, for many of the Bishops there they were a refreshing change that helped all there discern how the spirit was moving in the Church and the world today.

In April Pope Francis released his Apostolic Exhortation ‘Christ is Alive!’ which brings this whole process together and makes up a part of the formal teaching of the Church.

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Why Is It Important?

In announcing that the 2018 Synod would focus on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment, Pope Francis encouraged the whole Church to recognise the contribution the young can make to the mission of the Church, to the preaching and living of the Gospel with authenticity in the modern world.

The contribution of young people to not only the topics of what was discussed, and what came out in the final document and apostolic exhortation, but also how they helped shape the synodal process was unprecedented.

We think there is much to learn from the documents and the process that can help our local Churches in the constant task of renewal that the Gospel demands of us.

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What is a Synod?

Technically a synod is body of Bishops that assists and advises the Pope which manifests itself through events looking at specific topics. There have been 15 ordinary synods on topics ranging from evangelisation in the modern world to the role of consecrated life in the Church.

Various preparations are made, and more recently research and consultations with the whole of the people of God are conducted before a meeting, usually taking a few weeks, takes place.

At this meeting topics are discussed, Bishops, experts and other auditors give contributions all of which are discussed in smaller groups. The topics and themes of these discussions all get packaged up and agreed upon as a final Synod document. Usually this document feeds into an ‘apostolic exhortation’, a teaching document from the Pope, in the case of the 2018 Synod the exhortation is ‘Christ is Alive!’

The Synod of Bishops was announced after Vatican II over fifty years ago to give greater emphasis to collegiality, that is, the practice of Bishops working more closely together in shaping the mission and work of the Church.

More recently Pope Francis and others in the Church have promoted a practice called synodality which, in short, aims to involve the whole of the Poeple of God in discussions that shape the mission and work of the Church.

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What Did It Say?

You can see the whole document, our summary of the final document below. The Pope’s exhortation ‘Christ is Alive!’ is a continuation and the final document of the formal synod process. There is a link to our guide, below, and more ways to explore these themes through our resources page.

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‘Christ is Alive!’

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