Synod 2018 on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment
October 3 – 28, 2018
The Vatican, Rome
Pope Francis has dedicated the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. . . to be focused on the theme of “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.” It will be held in Rome in October 2018. Pope Francis noted: “The theme, an expression of the pastoral care of the Church for the young, is consistent with the results of the recent Synod assemblies on the family and with the content of the post-Synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Its aim is to accompany the young on their existential journey to maturity so that, through a process of discernment, they discover their plan for life and realize it with joy, opening up to the encounter with God and with human beings, and actively participating in the edification of the Church and of society.”
ROME, ITALY – For four weeks Brother Robert Schieler FSC, Superior General, participated in the City of Vatican in the Synod of Bishops on “Youth, faith and vocational discernment”. The bishops, together with priests, men and women religious, and young people from all over the world, lived days of prayer, discussion, analysis and dialogue about the current times and the Church commitment to the reality of the new generations.
After the Synod at the same time he was preparing his pastoral visit to the Brothers and Lasallians of Brazil on October 30, Brother Robert answered some questions about this important ecclesial experience, which gave the Church the occasion to hear the voice of thousands of Lasallian educators who continue to be passionate about God and humanity in 80 countries around the world.
A final word to…
The La Salle Brothers:
The Synod called for an approach to the young which is at the heart of our vocation. We have a privileged vocation where we walk with the young. We are in close relationship with them accompanying them on their journey to building a faith life as they mature to adulthood. They are our teachers as much as we are theirs. What a rich blessing is our heritage!
To our young Lasallians:
The Church wants to move beyond mandating to the young and all the people of God to engagement with them. The synod called for co-responsibility of young people with the Church. It recognized young people as protagonists in the Church and partners in announcing the Good News, particularly to their peers. The synod also acknowledged the invisibility of Bishops, priests and religious to the young and lack of regular contact with them. There is a desire to rectify this. Dear young people do not lose hope and faith in us.
To our partners, teachers and associates:
The indispensible role of schools and universities in educating and forming children, youth and young people was acknowledged and extolled. Thank you Lasallians for the gift of your vocation and the daily sacrifices you make on behalf of all those entrusted to your care.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Young people today are telling Catholic leaders that if they want to persuade the young to follow Christ and pursue a vocation, church leaders must be models of Gospel behavior, said the head of the De La Salle Christian Brothers.
Members of the Synod of Bishops have made repeated references to the story of Jesus and the rich young man in the Gospel — how Jesus told him to sell everything and follow him; several synod members have cited the passage to affirm that Jesus continues to place tough demands on young people.
But Philadelphia-born Brother Robert Schieler, superior general of the brothers, suggested another way of looking at the story. He asked members of the synod to consider “that we, the church, are the rich young man.”
When the story is about Jesus’ demands on the church, rather than on young people today, he said, then it becomes a challenge to the church “to embrace risk, to be willing to leave our individual and collective comfort zones and to trust in divine providence.”
Young people who challenge the church in that way, he said, “are trying to tell us: ‘If you are inviting me to consider a Christian vocation, I expect you to model for me Gospel behavior.’”
Brother Schieler was one of several U.S. synod members to address the gathering Oct. 16 and Oct. 17.
VATICAN CITY — The two Rome-based umbrella groups representing nearly a million members of male and female Catholic religious orders around the world are planning to present Pope Francis with a proposal to give women a larger role in the Synod of Bishops.
Both the Union of Superiors General, representing about 185,000 priests and brothers, and the International Union of Superiors General, representing about 600,000 sisters and nuns, are working together on the initiative, a member of the Union of Superiors General’s executive council told NCR.
Lasallian Br. Robert Schieler, one of two non-ordained religious brothers serving as members in the ongoing Oct. 3-28 synod on young people, said the proposal is “to consider how, in future synods going forward, we can get more voice from the sisters.”
Schieler, who leads the global De La Salle Brothers, said in an Oct. 15 interview that the umbrella groups are planning to ask the pope about both participation of more women religious and the possibility of giving those who take part the power to vote in the discussions.
“It’s only right,” said the brother superior, one of 10 members of the Union of Superiors General’s council. “I mean, my God, the sisters are the ones who are every day with young people, more than any other group, in all kinds of capacities.”
His Holiness Pope Francis
Dear Holy Father,
Greetings from the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (De La Salle Brothers). Like many of the faithful we have watched with sadness the discord sown by some members of the hierarchy against your commitment to the Gospel of Jesus. I and our General Council write in support for your inspiring leadership and your call for all men and women of good will to live daily the beatitudes of Jesus.
Since the beginning of our Institute in the late 17th century in France, our Founder, Saint John Baptist de La Salle, was unwavering in his loyalty to the Pope. Our first ministry outside of France was in Rome as a demonstration of that loyalty. St. La Salle did not concern himself with the controversies of his day, Jansenism and Quietism. His life was consumed with training his first Brothers to be good shepherds, ambassadors of Christ and ministers of God in educating the poor and working class abandoned on the streets of France.
Your vision of Church confirms the foundational call of our Institute and Lasallian family to enter into a respectful dialogue with the persons we are called to serve, regardless of their faith or ethnicity. This attitude presupposes openness and a willingness to go to those at the borders in order to listen, to learn, to witness to Gospel values and, as far as possible, to announce the Word of God.
We pray this attitude and orientation will prevail among the global Catholic community, especially among our servant Bishop leaders.
We pray daily for your well-being. You are our Good Shepherd and you have called us by name. Know that we walk with you, together and by association, to procure the Glory of God as far as we shall be able.
We remain, with Saint John Baptist de La Salle, Patron of Teachers, your faithful servants. Fraternally,
Brother Robert Schieler, FSC
Brother Superior and members of the General Council
The International Council of Young Lasallians in conversation with Brother Robert Schieler regarding the upcoming Synod.
In preparation for the Synod of Bishops which begins tomorrow, Br. Robert Schieler FSC, Superior General of the Brothers Christian Schools takes time to chat with the International Council of Young Lasallians (ICYL) regarding young people today, their faith, and vocational discernment.
Assigned to an interfaith group, Br Javier Hanson participated in March Pre-Synod meeting in Rome, calling the presence of young people from different religious traditions an ‘important part of the pre-Synod experience’. On Wednesday, the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment begins. Br Javier Hanson, a Brother of the Christian Schools, was chosen by the US Bishops to participate in the first-ever Pre-Synod Meeting in March, in Rome. Br Javier was assigned to an interfaith group at this meeting and spoke about this experience during the Spring General Assembly of the US Bishops Conference in June.
Vatican publishes list of synod participants, papal nominees, including Br. Robert Schieler, FSC – Superior General
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops’ conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, bishops from another 10 nations, as well as 10 priests who be full voting members of the gathering.
The pope’s appointees to the synod were announced Sept. 15 and included Canadian Cardinal Gerald LaCroix of Quebec and U.S. Cardinals Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, and Blase J. Cupich of Chicago.
The Union of Superiors General elected 10 synod members — eight priests and two religious brothers — including U.S. Brother Robert I. Schieler, superior general of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, and Canadian Father Michael Brehl, superior general of the Redemptorists.
A week-long worldwide gathering of young Catholics has just concluded in Rome, leaving a historic mark on the life of the Catholic Church and giving its participant from the District of San Francisco New Orleans a considerable collection of unique experiences and memories.
On the final day of the Pre-Synod, the delegates submitted to Pope Francis a formal summary of their observations and recommendations. Final Document of the Pre-Synodal Meeting of Young People is a 7000-plus word statement representing the distillation of 26 separate reports from the Gathering delegates’ work groups.
As the Pre-Synod approaches, Brother Javier shared his thoughts about being a delegate to this historic and extraordinary event, as well as the prospect of what the experience might hold for him and his community.
SFNO Brother Named as Delegate to Rome Pre-Synod Gathering
Brother Javier will be one of three youth delegates to the Pre-Synod, which will convene March 19-25 in Rome, Italy. The delegates were selected on the basis of their local and national connections to the life of the Church, their work with other young people, and their representativeness of the cultural and vocational diversity of the Church in the United States.
Called by the Holy Father Pope Francis, along with the Office for the Synod of Bishops, the 2018 Pre-Synod Gathering was conceived as a way to listen directly to the voices of young adults around the world in advance of the Church’s 2018 Ordinary Synod, Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, which will take place in October at the Vatican.
LINKS and INFO
Br. Robert at the Synod