In his homily, the Pontiff urged the Synod Fathers towards the work that begin this afternoon, and assured them that "the Church looks at you with trust and love". He also spoke explicitly about two of the guests, the bishops of China, Msgr. Giovanni Battista Yang Xiaoting, bishop of Yan'an; and mgr. Giuseppe Guo Jincai, bishop of Chengde.
The two bishops, who testify "the communion of the entire episcopate with the Successor of Peter", as the Pope observed, are part of the 267 Synodal Fathers; 23 experts and 49 auditors also took part in the Synod, including 34 youths between the ages of 18 and 29. The latter participate in the Synod, but will not have the right to vote, reserved for bishops.
The Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, 15 other Salesians of Don Bosco and two Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, constitute the representatives of the Salesian Family who take part in this great event. In the 26 days of the Synod there will be three objectives, as highlighted by the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, card. Lorenzo Baldisseri. "To make the whole Church aware of her missionary commitment to accompany all young people to the joy of love that Jesus Christ offers to all new generations". A second objective is "to become aware of the universal call of the concept of vocation and, consequently, of the link between youth ministry and pastoral care of vocations". The third objective highlighted by the cardinal is "the ecclesial renewal promoted by Pope Francis".
During the homily of the opening Mass of the Synod, the Pope observed: "Hope moves us ... And asks us to rise to look directly at the faces of the young". And addressing the Synodal Fathers, he invited them to look to the Second Vatican Council and to the message of the Council Fathers to the young people of that time. He recalled the words of the poet Friedrich Hölderlin - "Let man keep what he promised as a child" - and invited the Synodal Fathers to expand their hearts to understand the appeal of their brothers and to put their energies to the service of the Young.