CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 July 2017

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Cardinal pushes synod among the young

HONG KONG (UCAN): Lorenzo Cardinal Baldisseri, the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, encouraged young people in Hong Kong to get involved in the preparation process for the next synod gathering, which is to be held in Rome in October 2018 on the topic of Young people, faith and vocational discernment.
 
During a 90-minute meeting on May 14 with representatives of young people in Hong Kong, Cardinal Baldisseri explained the mechanism that is being used in the preparation for the next synod, which is being convoked specifically to look at the challenges that young people of all persuasions face in the world today.
 
The Italian cardinal explained that the theme “refers to all young people on the earth, not just Catholics and Christians.”
 
He encouraged the gathering not to ignore the opportunity that is being offered to them to be involved in the synod and to keep their eye on the General Secretariat website for a questionnaire which can be filled out online.
 
Although it was announced that it would be available in March, it has yet to make an appearance in cyberspace.
 
Although the cardinal was coy about what questions young people asked, calling on his 30-odd-year experience as a Vatican diplomat to gloss over them, UCAN reported that university student, Philomena Poon, did tell him that she and others are interested in expressing their views to the synod.
 
“In the past, we got pontifical writings on issues such as family, marriage and love, but this time it is about young people and we also get a cardinal coming here to meet us. It shows the Church pays heed to us, which gives us motivation to get involved,” Poon said.
 
It was Cardinal Baldisseri’s first appointment in Hong Kong after offering the English Mass at the cathedral, which was his first exposure to the city and he took questions from a couple of students, a seminarian, a young family, a disabled person, a refugee and a few others.
 
However, Cardinal Baldisseri did take part in a discussion on how to resist the trend of being against or without the Church, the key elements involved in allowing a vocation to mature, how to fulfill everyday discernment in family relationships, work and in children’s education.
 
Citing Pope Francis speaking on the culture of the ephemeral, which stresses enjoying the moment, the cardinal urged the young people to be revolutionaries and have the courage to swim against the tide that sees everything as temporary and leads you to believe you are incapable of taking responsibility or loving deeply.
 
He also stressed the importance of accompaniment and helping young people with day-to-day discernment, when one of the staff from the youth ministry asked him how adults could deal with same-sex attraction in young people.
 
Cardinal Baldisseri’s seven-day visit is his first to the Chinese communities in Hong Kong and Taiwan. His priority is meeting with young people and promoting preparation for the upcoming synod.

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