Leonard J. DeLorenzo, concurrent professor of Theology and Director of Notre Dame Vision in the McGrath Institute for Church Life, writes about the 2018 Synod of Bishops for OSV Newsweekly:
The gathering in Rome in October will focus on young people, the Faith and vocational discernment
In October 2018, bishops from around the world will gather at the Vatican to discuss the pastoral issues and pressing needs of young people, with a special eye toward how they are being prepared (or not) for the demanding task of “vocational discernment.” The upcoming synod assembly follows naturally from the previous one in 2015 that focused on marriage and the family, prompting Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Although this next synod is unlikely to generate the same level of media buzz as the last one — as it almost certainly will lack the perception of controversial matters or rival factions (on which especially the secular media but at times even the Catholic media thrive) — it is not the case that the diminished attention means diminished importance. If anything, the topic of the 2018 synod is a prime opportunity to consider both the Church’s present and its future. If the Church is going to seize this opportunity, though, then the occasion cannot simply be left as a private conversation among the delegate bishops, but must capture the energy and fire the imagination of the whole Church so that we might together ask what the Lord calls our young people to become and how we must help them along the way.
To assist parents and pastoral leaders, educators and mentors, young people and the not-so-young to focus on “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment,” this article will do four things. First, it will offer an introduction to the Synod of Bishops and its assemblies. Second, it will provide an overview of the preparations for the synod assembly, drawing forth some of the key questions that have been asked of young people and of dioceses around the world. Third, it will identify several central themes that seem to be setting the agenda for the synodal process. And fourth, it will focus on the person of the Blessed Mother — Mary of Nazareth — to whom the pope has entrusted this entire process.