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CFC Youth Experience the Synod
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

ON the 6th of October 2018, CFC's youth ministry, Youth for Christ, was given a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the joy of gathering with 7,000 other young people from all over the world, when they attended the monthlong Synod of Bishops. The synod, held in St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, had as theme 'Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment'.

The YFC delegation joined delegates from all over Europe—from the United Kingdom, Austria and Switzerland, with the biggest participation coming of course from Italy (Rome).

Despite the gloomy skies and rainy weather, the faithful stood in line, joyfully waiting under their umbrellas for the doors to open. The atmosphere was filled with much excitement, especially for the YFC as it promised to be a very close encounter with Pope Francis.

Saturday’s rally took place in the Paul VI audience hall. A part of the community’s delegation had the chance to sit near the stage and at the center aisle where the Holy Father would later walk by. Even though there were still two hours left before the beginning of the event, everyone in the room got excited when the bishops from all over the world started to come one after the other. With cheering left and right, it was sheer bliss to see the bishops reaching out to the young people and giving out hugs to acquaintances, stopping by for pictures—as how every “millennial” would have liked. The Church leaders were evidently joyful at the chance to connect with the youth.

The much-awaited arrival of Pope Francis was greeted with much loud cheering. The Holy Father stopped to bless infants and children with a very warm and inviting smile, like a host very happy to see his precious guests.

The assembly rally entitled “Noi Per Unici, Solidali, Creativi”, which means “Young people for uniqueness, solidarity and creativity” soon followed. The celebration-cum-variety show featured dancing, singing and talented pianists, the highlight of which were testimonies from the youth from all around the world. As the young people shared their stories, they also took turns to ask the Pope about issues and realities they currently face.

One personal testimony was from a young man from Iraq named Aziz, who at 18 lived a simple and beautiful life with his family. Unfortunately, the family lost everything they had when terrorists came to invade his village.

Taking nothing with them, Aziz and his family fled Iraq and were allowed to enter Paris, France, where he was able to rebuild his life from nothing.

Today, he has graduated from high school and is currently pursuing his studies in a university.

Pope Francis was deeply moved by their personal stories, saying that both in their passion and pain, there also is the desire to rise again and face the challenges of life positively, and to run towards their most beautiful goals. The Pope also mentioned the importance of not belonging to the world and the ‘illusions of contemporary man’, and how without realizing it, man is being dominated by earthly pleasures like money, power and fame. Pope Francis added, “The most touching thing in your stories is the discovery that another life is possible. Jesus does not leave us alone in our adventure, especially in moments that put us to the test.”

Pope Francis also encouraged the youth to realize that the way for them to be protagonists and to participate more in the Church is to ask questions—to exercise that very natural curiosity that all young people possess. He added that the youth should embark on a quest for what is real and true, and not just for those that belong to the realm of theory. He added that this quest should translate to actual practice, particularly in their choice of life and behavior. And that instead of asking “Why?”, the young people should ask “How?” in order to help solve problems.

The gathering ended with exuberant dancing, with the bishops taking time to interact with the young crowd, greeting friends and taking pictures once again. It was a beautiful sight of community and family, of brothers and sisters in Christ, collaborating together to make the world a more suitable place for the youth to grow in their faith. (Pia Eviota)



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