The Church is aware that the world of youth has changed radically: young people today live in a globalized world, a network of interconnections and relationships, suffering and contradictions. Young people send a clear message: "we struggle to bring together our growth, our journey towards adulthood and religious experience."
The Church also knows that without the strength of the young it will end up losing its capacity for enthusiasm and strength. Without exaggeration, this synod is a key moment for the Church. The Pope continues: "This Synod has the opportunity, the task and the duty to be a sign of a Church that really listens, that allows herself to be questioned by the experiences of those she meets, and who does not always have a ready-made answer." At stake, says the pontiff, is the prophetic role of the Church before the new generations. "A Church that does not listen shows herself closed to newness, closed to God’s surprises, and cannot be credible, especially for the young who will inevitably turn away rather than approach."
In this atmosphere of dialogue, the Pope invites the Synodal Fathers not to allow themselves to be "extinguished or crushed by the prophets of doom and misfortune, or by our own shortcomings, mistakes and sins," but to find the grace and memory "capable of enkindling our hearts and of discerning the ways of the Spirit."
This synod is a milestone for the Salesian Family, as it aims at the core of our charism and will certainly offer us elements that will help us to discern new methods and ways of serving young people.
The orientations offered by the Pope in the inaugural speech of the Synod also inspire us to begin our journey of discernment to listen to the young and to answer the question of the General Chapter 28: "What kind of Salesians for today's young?"
As the Pope has always said, what is needed more than ever is "a Gospel ardour and passion which lead to an ardour and passion for Jesus. A memory that can rekindle and renew in us the capacity to dream and to hope. For we know that our young people will be capable of prophesy and vision to the extent that we, who are already adult or elderly, can dream and thus be infectious in sharing those dreams and hopes that we carry in our hearts."