By Robin Gomes
Young Catholics from all over the Archdiocese of Bombay in India came together in Mumbai on October 7 to participate in a novel way in the Synod of Bishops on young people currently taking place in the Vatican.
Mumbai’s young Catholics celebrated what they called Synodgy2018 that aimed at inspiring young people to work together with the Church, with the promise that the Church would listen and respond to them.
The October 3-28 synod has as its theme “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.”
Father Magi Murzello, the rector of St Andrew’s College, explained to Crux that he coined the word “Synodgy” combining the words ‘synod’ and ‘synergy’, which means synod and youth working together.
Sunday, October 7, being the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Synodgy2018 kicked off with a rosary pilgrimage by more than 1,000 young people at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, Bandra.
Bishop Barthol Barretto inaugurated the event with a small prayer and the release of a balloon rosary in the sky.
The rosary reflections highlighted the importance of the rosary for young people. Students of St. Andrew’s College enacted the classic allegory of the hare and the tortoise bringing out the themes of the glorious mysteries.
The procession concluded at the Apostolic Carmel Convent where a short prayer was offered for the success of the Synod.
The event included a video presentation of interviews with young people, who spoke about the relevance of the Church today and what they would do if they were made pope for a day.
The climax of Synodgy2018 was the Holy Mass concelebrated by Bishop Barretto, at the end of which the participants were served refreshments and were entertained by a group of talented singers, musicians and performers.
Message of Card. Gracias
The event also projected a video message to the participants from Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay who is in Rome attending the synod on youth. He expressed satisfaction that “Synodgy is celebrating this universal event on the home ground.”
“Stay high and excited in our faith in Jesus Christ,” he urged the young people of his archdiocese. “Synodgy,” he said, “is here to ignite you and inspire you to work together youthfully and faithfully even as we commit to listen to you, accompany you so that you make your choices and decisions which will bring you inner contentment, reveal the beauty and meaning of life and the Christian life.”
In his message, Gracias said the pope was inviting the entire Church to be involved the moment of opportunity. “The Church knows that we cannot offer yesterday’s solutions to the problems you face today. And so in order to better respond through the lens of the Gospels, Pope Francis wants this to be a graceful time where we move forward as a Church relevant in our days,” the cardinal said.
Reminding his young people about the call of the Second Vatican Council to renewal, Cardinal Gracias who is president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), expressed confidence that the universal event of the synod “will add new oxygen and renewal in the ways we serve the young people.”
In this, he said, “Pope Francis edifies our understanding of reaching out to youth.” In the synod’s preparatory document the Pope reminds the youth that they are the “protagonists, the main actors in the Church of today”. “And so over these years of preparations he is calling us to be a listening Church that accompanies you having discerned God’s plan for every young person.”
The cardinal said the Church wants to reach out to young people in their concrete actual situation.
“We want to encounter you in the flesh and in the wounds and bruises you live with. So, listening to young people has happened by way of surveys where youth of all dioceses of the world responded including our own Archdiocese of Bombay,” said Cardinal Gracias who is also president of the Federation of the Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).
He recalled that Pope Francis had met some 300 youth from around the world, including from India, at a special pre-synod youth event in Rome in March. The Pope listened to them, to share their joys and pains, and to walk together.
Speaking about the working document that acts as the guide to the working sessions of the synod, the cardinal summarized the process in 3 verbs: recognizing, interpreting and choosing. This, he said, will help the Church in finding ways to reach out under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (Source: Crux/Bombay Archdiocese)