Pre-synod on Youth, Rome March 2018


Alina Oehler - Germany

Screen Shot 2018-03-23 at 3.31.23 PM.png
1) Expectations for the Pre-Synod:

I expect open discussions, that we can speak freely and that our voices are heard - at least that is what I hope. And I trust the Holy Spirit that he will guide us if our hearts and minds are open. 

2) Why are the voices of young women important:

If the church is not listening to the voices of young women she’s missing out on big potential. Women are as educated as men are in today's world. They want to share their gifts within the church and be involved. But at the moment there are not many options at higher levels where we can do that (as a theologian for example) and it mostly depends on a priest. There are some good examples of course like in some german dioceses, but not everywhere. And looking back into the history of the church we know so many great women who had been very important to the church like Catherine of Siena for example (who was a consultant to the Pope!). We have to remember that and find ways to realise important places for women like this again, because the church needs female leadership too. 

3) What are some of the topics you wish to draw attention to:

For me - of course - the role of women in the church is a crucial topic. But I also want to speak about the liturgy and the desire for a holy atmosphere. Because I’m convinced young people are longing for this. When you go to mass on Sunday in Germany you hardly find any young people. Because I would say they don’t understand the beauty and meaning of the liturgy and the sacrament of the eucharist anymore. So we have to talk about that.

Nicole Perone - United States

Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 7.21.17 PM.png

1) Expectations for the Pre-Synod:

In the spirit of Ignatian detachment, I have endeavored to set aside any expectations that I could have for the Pre-Synodal meeting, and have attempted to maintain openness of mind and heart. From where I stand, the best expectation I can have is that the Holy Spirit will use this gathering in the way the Spirit needs. I am most looking forward to fruitful conversations with other young people from around the world, which I am certain will grant me good perspective on the ways young people view their faith outside of my limited scope in the United States. 

2) Why are the voices of young women important:

Young women are the intersection of two groups receiving quite a bit of interest in the life of the Church: women and young people. Women have long been the bearers and nurturers of faith in their families and communities, whether it be passing down the culture of faith in their households or as facilitators of the life of their parishes. To that end, it is crucial that women be in visible roles of leadership in the Church, furthering the good work they already do. Of course, it is a magnificent grace and gift that a Synod of Bishops is being convened to address the faith of young people. Women and young people are not only the future of the Church, but very much its present, and to hear their voices as distinct is crucial. 

3) What are some of the topics you wish to draw attention to:

Recently, in an interview around the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, I was asked what I would say to the Holy Father if I had 30 seconds of face to face encounter with him. (This is assuming, of course, that I would be able to put together a coherent sentence and not completely dissolve into tears of joy!) If so, I would thank Pope Francis for his leadership, vision, and model of discipleship which has inspired so many and given so much hope, and implore him to hear well the voices of women and young people, and make space for them - not only to bring their voices to the table, but also to take on roles of visible, authentic leadership in the life of the Church. I pray that the conversations and work which will take place at the Pre-Synodal meeting will further those important points, and that we will see a Church continually oriented toward manifesting the Gospel.