July 13, 2018

If you could share one thought with the pope, what would it be?

By John Shaughnessy

Pope Francis shared his stunning invitation to young people in a letter:

“The Church wishes to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith, even your doubts and your criticism. Make your voice heard, let it resonate in communities, and let it be heard by your shepherds of souls.”

Ninety-one young adults from central and southern Indiana accepted the pope’s invitation—by responding to a survey that will contribute significantly to the Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment that will take place at the Vatican in October.

The young adults’ feedback was heartfelt and honest, including this sampling of individual responses to the question, “If you could share one thing with Pope Francis, what would it be?”

• “Young adults are willing to give themselves fully to something they are deeply passionate [about]. Help, teach, talk and show us how the Church is something that we can give our lives to and be happy.”

• “We need time as like-minded people to gather together in and outside of the Church. Without our young adult group at St. Pius X [Parish in Indianapolis], I may have never wanted to convert to Catholicism due to the stigma that was built into me from outside influences.”

• “I wish the Church would stop looking at modern social issues with a lens from the past. Times change, and the Church needs to change with them.”

• “Please do not be afraid to stand up for Catholic doctrine on social and cultural issues. Many voices constantly bombard young people with lies, telling them to do what feels good now, and that the truth is different for everyone. A weak, inconsistent message from the Church gets lost in the noise.”

• “Your papacy has attracted my peers to the Church in unprecedented ways. A gentle articulation of the Church’s teaching is the only way to true human flourishing.”

• “Create a role or opportunity to engage young adults at every parish. Invest more resources and make young adults a priority in every diocese.”

• “Sometimes it’s disheartening to hear people complain that young adults are weak in faith or non-practicing. Some young adults are very faithful, but need opportunities or extra encouragement to become involved in the parish family and bring others in as well. I’d love to have more opportunities to learn more deeply about my faith and how that relates to current events in modern society.”

• “You are what I hope the Church becomes: a good listener, a modern movement, a wise source of information and advice.”

• “Young adults are looking for a community that makes them feel valued. They want to be the drivers of change through volunteering. The problem is that the Church only asks for help in areas where there is need. That means there is a lack of engagement and opportunity.”

• “Continue promoting unity and acceptance.”

•“American young adults need a faith awakening. Help us!” †


Related story: Papal invitation draws responses on nurturing young Church

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