Ashleigh Green, a youth delegate from Broken Bay Diocese, is this week representing Australia at an international seminar on young people in Rome, the ACBC Media Blog reports.
The seminar is being held in the lead-up to the October 2018 Synod of Bishops on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment.
Here, Ms Green shares her experience of the first day of the conference:
“It is you who are to receive the torch from your elders,” Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri announced as he opened the seminar, “and you are to deliver it to the world that is in the midst of the greatest transformation in history.”
Cardinal Baldisseri explained that this week’s seminar is not only international in nature, but also multidisciplinary. I am one of 20 young people from around the world who were invited to attend this seminar along with specialists in the field of sociology, psychology, economics, computer science, pastoral care and the environment.
Over the week we will engage with specialists from the various fields, but Cardinal Baldisseri explained that the key word for today was “listening”.
In my presentation I was honest about the reality of the Church in Australia today, which I described as being in the midst of crisis and transition. I drew on the results of the National Youth Synod Survey and I used personal experiences to illustrate this reality.
As the theme of today’s seminar was “listening”, it was fitting that I shared some data from our National Survey where young people in Australia scored the Church’s listening ability to be a 6 out of 10.
I shared my experience that many young people give up on the Church before even giving it a go, out of fear that they cannot engage in open, honest discussion about the issues that matter to them.
We are encouraged, this week, to become a “thinking community” and to view our community as an orchestra with each of us playing a unique instrument.
My hope is that our discussions will break new ground. Now is the time to be creative, to dream and to listen to the voice of the Spirit. I wait in eager anticipation for the discussions that lay ahead, and for the gelato along the way!