Home 9 Video 9 In the voice of Young People | Where to from here?

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Dio Comms Team

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November 2, 2022

There was a strong focus on engaging school children, young  people, and their families in the synod process.

It was interesting to note that many of the issues raised by these young people were the same ones raised by the older participants.

A notable voice came through strongly from many young people who spoke of the hurt felt by the treatment and silencing of LGBTQIA+ members of society, and the fear that the Church may be unsafe in its discriminatory outlook.

One young child wrote:

“I am a bit confused at the reason why women can’t be priests. What rights do men have that women don’t?”

The type of exclusion people wrote of included the inability to receive the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. One young boy wrote of his non-Catholic father not being able to receive the Eucharist when the family went to Mass together, and the anguish he felt. These sorts of exclusions were written about as the Church “putting rubrics and rules ahead of relationships”.

Some regarded Mass as a celebration of the initiated; older people and migrants appearing more comfortable at Mass than younger New Zealand Europeans. There was concern that catechesis has largely been reduced to RCIA and sacramental programmes, and a desire for further faith formation opportunities for all.

The younger participants admitted finding the parish Mass at odds with their need for informality, enjoyment, and familiarity, both in terms of where and how they worship. They spoke of wanting to be seen and involved in liturgical celebrations and social settings beyond the Church walls. In the words of one teenager:

“[We] want, and require, more engagement and inspiration from the faith community – particularly physical connections in the form of youth groups and bible studies. Young people want and need to feel connected to the Church.”

The younger participants credited their understanding of the Mass, the Sacraments, and prayer to their school environment. This links back to a previous observation that the Catholic school community is often seen as more welcoming than its parish counterpart.

This series of videos aims to explore ‘where to from here’ and captures some of the key themes that emerged in the synodal process in the Diocese of Palmerston North.

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