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Pope calls for a synod ‘anointed by hope’

VATICAN (Agencies): The Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Young People,  Faith and Vocations opened on October 3 with Pope Francis praying for the Holy Spirit to renew hope and dynamism in the Church. 
 
Hope can “broaden our horizons, expand our hearts and transform those frames of mind that today paralyse, separate and alienate us from young people,” said Pope Francis.
 
Two bishops from China are for the first time attending a Synod of Bishops, which is considered as the first concrete sign of a thaw between the Holy See and Beijing following a landmark agreement that was signed on September 22. Bishop Joseph Guo Jincai, bishop of Chengde, Hebei, and Bishop John Baptist Yang Xiaoting, bishop of Yan’an, Shaanxi, were the first from mainland China to attend a synod. 
 
Pope Francis got emotional in greeting two bishops from China, during the homily of the opening Mass in St Peter’s Square. “We offer them our warm welcome: the communion of the entire episcopate with the successor of Peter is yet more visible thanks to their presence,” Pope Francis said.
 
Father Marco and Father Giovanni, two Chinese priests studying in Rome, who attended the opening Mass, told the AsiaNews  that the first-time presence of Chinese bishops at a synod is a sign of “positive change” in the relationship between Beijing and the Catholic Church.
 
“This synod represents a historic event for all of us. We are very happy but at the same time we know that we must proceed with caution, slowly. The life of the Church in China has been difficult for a long time,” said Father Marco. 
 
In his homily at the Mass in St. Peter’s Square that inaugurated the 25-day synod, Pope Francis called on his brother bishops to heed the voices of young people in the effort to build a better world than that of their elders. 
 
He expressed his confidence in the new generations that, he said, “are capable of prophesy and vision” and prayed that the Holy Spirit may grant synodal Fathers the grace of being anointed with the youthful “gift of dreaming and of hoping.”
 

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