Youth who aren't there
The pressing lack of youth in the Church has been noted in almost every diocesan synthesis. The issue was most often raised in the context of synodal questions. Sometimes separate sections were devoted to youth – we present them here.
Wszystkie syntezy w jednym dokumencie PDF
In the same key of five thematic meetings were held monthly meetings of the youth of our diocese. The synodal journey of the youth took place each time in a different parish (Bytom, Gliwice-Redemptorists, Tworóg, Sierakowice, Gliwice-Sosnica). They began with Mass, during which one of the five prepared synodal themes was considered along with questions, which after the Eucharist were taken up first individually (during adoration) and later in small groups. The most important words to sum up the synodal journey of the youth are: meeting, talking, understanding.
– was the one that made it possible for a large number of young people to be present, and behind that to form relationships and mutual exchanges. The advantages of the meeting were the venues agreed upon so that as many young people as possible could attend. They were able to organize themselves and take care of those who did not have, how to get there and brought peers. The meeting made it happen to meet new people, and therefore exchange experiences of young people from different communities, with different characteristics of action. There were also those who were not affiliated with any community. For these, the meetings have become a kind of encouragement and invitation to join the ranks of any of the communities. The meeting became a place to exchange information about various events happening in the parishes, as well as in the diocese, but at the same time showed the still weak communication between parishes. Young took care of human needs, such as a simple “tea or cake”, which greatly influenced the sense of a good home atmosphere .
- Interview– The dialogue of the youth took place first before God by meditating on a proposed passage of Scripture, and later by facing the survey questions individually during adoration. The youth emphasized their readiness to answer serious questions and their willingness to ask them. They also stressed the problem of answering the questions God poses to them. With these thoughts, young people went to small group meetings after Mass, where they shared their discoveries, experiences and what God had touched in their hearts with His Word. The deep need for such meetings, where they could talk and exchange thoughts together about the life of faith and any related doubts and struggles, resounded. With each meeting, the young people saw more and more the desire to have a conversation – a dialogue to break down barriers. The conversations expressed concern for the Church, as well as for each other, but also for their priests and for new vocations.
– through the exchange of so many different experiences, the participants of the meetings were able to convince themselves of the openness to understand another person, and behind this to accept him or her with all his or her history, without demeaning, condemning or deleting anyone; the young people themselves said that they were “accepted” or “able to accept someone.” In the space of understanding, young people pointed out the great need for spiritual directors to accompany them on their journey of spiritual development and vocation discernment. The unavailability of priests or their reluctance to provide individual leadership was shown as a problem to be solved.
In the young people coming to the synod meetings created not only a great desire to talk, but also to share their faith with each other or actively participate in the life of parish communities. There was no shortage of difficult topics or problems in the life of the Church, but also a search for understanding and answers. What “helped” the young the most was the creation of a suitable meeting place and an atmosphere of openness and friendliness.
Meetings in small groups were led by a group of young people who are preparing for the ministry of animators in their parishes as part of the diocesan “Animator School.”
The synodal discussion also touched on youth issues. First of all, it was pointed out that youth is not a problem, but a challenge. Even if it seems that young people are “outside” the Church, there are pre-evangelization “seeds” in themselves that need to be extracted, gently purified and supported to bear fruit. One such “seed” is ideology. To others – conscience or the need for companionship. These “seeds” or “leaven,” often “chosen,” will bear their spiritual fruit in a climate of interest, openness and kindness. The grassroots initiatives of the youth must not be extinguished! It can be seen that the young man can really “squeeze” a lot out of himself to achieve the goal. However, the realization of this goal, bought with great effort, does not always promote personal maturation, for which the moral-religious spine is fundamental. Only good thought along with toil (asceticism) leads to virtue!
The Church, in order not to lose the younger generation, should listen to the voice of the youth. In order to be able to shape this generation, it is necessary to first hear them, find out what problems they have, what they live by; especially since they have no religious formation in their families today. A special task here, according to synod groups, rests with parents, priests and catechists. It seems that an attitude of listening, authenticity and respect are essential for establishing relationships with the younger generation.
Meetings and panel discussions held within the Diocese of Lowicz regarding the Synod on Synodality focused on several topics. The whole discussion was based mainly on an assessment of the situation in which the Church currently finds itself, showing the positive and negative features of the Church, and drawing conclusions. Certain paths have been suggested, which, according to those taking up the discussion, the Church should follow.
The deliberations in the Diocese of Lowicz focused on several topics:
The deliberators noted the sharply declining number of young people joining the life of the Church community. The propositions of modernity seem to draw in young people too much, who often do not even notice the need to deepen their spirituality. It is necessary, therefore, to look for ways to reach young people. Communicate to them the truth about Jesus Christ using language they can understand, without impoverishing the truth that the Gospel brings. It has been suggested that the Church wants to return to its roots, drawing from the first Christians, the attitudes of the Saints, that is, first of all, to preach the Word of God and administer the sacraments.
Young people find themselves especially in small parish communities, because there they most often receive support and can feel responsible for the community in a concrete way. It is necessary, therefore, to form the youth in small groups so as to show them how they are needed.
A vocation is the discovery of God’s will in a person’s life. It is carried out primarily in prayer, which is why it is so important to give young people space for community and individual prayer. It is necessary to show the Lord God, who always cares about man and accompanies in every vocation. Young people’s fear of deciding on the priesthood or religious orders is primarily a lack of trust in God.
- Spiritual accompaniment of young people in preparing for and experiencing the sacraments has positive effects, avoiding limiting ministry to debriefing and control. It is also important for us to continue evangelization and formation after confirmation in order to integrate more fully into the life of the Church and the parish community.
- Young people have a special place in the heart of the Church community, which, listening to their voice, accompanies young people on the paths of life to prepare them for both adulthood and Christian maturity.
- Pastoral meetings for young people organized in our Archdiocese, among others. Archdiocesan Youth Days, formation meetings in parishes, prayer vigils and pilgrimages, are testimony to the Church’s continuance with and for the young.
- Young people need to experience faith and a living parish so that they can deepen their union with God on a daily basis and participate in the life of the Christian community.
- Young people integrated into the life of the Christian community, among others. at indulgences, retreats, liturgies, festivals and conducting volunteer work for the sick and the poor, is an evangelistic witness to other young people. It would be beneficial to organize such meetings not only in the parish, but within the deanery.
- Young people want to be heard in parishes and schools, and companions on the journey of faith, parents, clergy, persons of consecrated life and lay leaders, should have time for them so that they have the experience of being understood and accepted by the Church.
- The Catholic family, based on marriage between a man and a woman, by its example and in cooperation with the parish and catechists at school, significantly helps to form a living faith in young people.
- Young people should be involved in the Church’s work of evangelization so that young people can fruitfully preach the Gospel and reach the social periphery. This can take place, for example, in preparation for Confirmation and during retreats, including by sharing a testimony or leading a prayer, as well as in small pastoral groups.
An important element of the surveys is the voice of young people. Unfortunately, individual questionnaires were completed by only 5% of young people between the ages of 20 and 29. The responses show that young people today need a different way of treating and teaching the faith than young people in past decades. Today’s youth are bored with classical teaching, their attention is focused on social media and they absorb the worldview messages present there. They find the virtual world more attractive and interesting than classic forms of content delivery. The responses also show that the young are looking for and need an ideological foundation, a background, a base through which they can interpret the situations that happen to them in life. However, the weakness of classical forms of teaching of faith and morals means that their worldview is not formed on the basis of the content of faith, but by virtue of competing messages that contradict Church teaching and are more attractive in form. What the young experience and absorb through the Internet, social media and the digital world is easy, fast, interesting in form and not prohibitive, hence faith, morality and Church doctrine appear as content that requires effort and toil. The young also live by media stereotypes (this can be seen in the content of surveys), which they uncritically accept – a believer is someone inferior, not fitting into the world, old-fashioned, unattractive. This kind of media opinion intimidates young people and alienates them from the faith, as they do not want to be apart from a group of attractive peers who are created to be modern and fun. Surveys show that young people need to be motivated to live their faith, to inspire in them the courage to bear witness to their faith.
In the surveys, mostly young people (under 23) emphasized that LGBTQ+ people and those who support abortion are excluded from the Church. They don’t understand the Church’s opposition to homosexual practices and women’s choices to terminate pregnancies. The survey opinions of young people clearly show the influence of mass culture on their perception of the world, they are disturbed by racism, they are imbued with the slogans of tolerance understood as the free acceptance of otherness, and the realization of the mission is hindered by a lack of tolerance for the views of others. They believe that there is gender racism in the Church – a male priest rules and does not allow others to speak (the rule is that if someone thinks differently from the priest then he is wrong).
The problem of young people, or more precisely their absence from the Church, came up in many places in all the surveys. Many people point out that this is one of the main problems in the Church today: few young people give to the Church and few go to Church at all. Also, relatively few young people participated in the surveys. However, the problem of the young is not only a problem of this generation, but a problem of religious upbringing or lack thereof in the family. Ultimately, it is the family that should play the role of teaching and transmitting the faith, because it is there, in the first stages of his life, that a young person grows up to believe. However, modern parents are not up to the task. On the one hand, they are burdened by work, they feel tired, they do not have time for their children, on the other hand, it is difficult for them to compete with social media, cultural influence, worldview changes that are taking place in civilization. It is not insignificant that many parents have abandoned the practice of faith and in this sphere are no authorities for their children.
List of synodal topics
W Kościele i w społeczeństwie jesteśmy na tej samej drodze, ramię w ramię.
Kiedy mówimy „nasz Kościół”, to kogo mamy na myśli? Kto w naszym Kościele „podąża razem”? Kto oczekuje, aby bardziej ku niemu wyjść i zaprosić go do wspólnej drogi wiary? Jakie osoby lub grupy są zaniedbane i nie objęte troską o to, by iść razem drogą wiary i stanowić jedną wspólnotę Kościoła?
Zestawienie odpowiedzi na te pytania zawarte w syntezach diecezjalnych.
Słuchanie jest pierwszym krokiem, ale wymaga otwartego umysłu i serca, bez uprzedzeń.
Czy umiemy słuchać siebie nawzajem w naszym Kościele? Czyj głos jest pomijany lub za mało słyszany? Z jakiego powodu? Czy potrafimy określić uprzedzenia i stereotypy, które utrudniają nam słuchanie innych? Czy z otwartym umysłem i sercem umiemy wsłuchiwać się w poglądy inne niż nasze; także osób spoza wspólnoty Kościoła?
Wszyscy są zaproszeni do mówienia z odwagą i zaufaniem, to znaczy łącząc wolność, prawdę i miłość.
Czy w Kościele nasz/mój głos ma znaczenie i czy znajdujemy przestrzeń do wypowiedzi i bycia wysłuchanym? Czy czujemy, że przemawiający w naszym imieniu faktycznie reprezentują także nas? Jaki mamy na to realny wpływ?
„Wspólna droga” jest możliwa tylko wtedy, gdy opiera się na wspólnotowym słuchaniu Słowa Bożego i sprawowaniu Eucharystii.
Czy liturgiczne celebracje i doświadczenie wspólnotowej modlitwy w naszym Kościele mają realny wpływ na moją/naszą praktykę codziennego życia: decyzje, wybory, inspiracje? Czy czujemy się zaproszeni do czynnego (praktycznego) zaangażowania w liturgię, czy też pozostawia nam się rolę „widza”? Czy sami pielęgnujemy w sobie pragnienie zaangażowania? Czy przeżywanie liturgii umacnia i motywuje mnie/nas do podjęcia misji ewangelizacji?
Synodalność służy misji Kościoła, do udziału w której powołani są wszyscy jego członkowie.
Czy mamy świadomość, że jako ochrzczeni wszyscy jesteśmy powołani do misji ewangelizowania? Co nas hamuje w podejmowaniu tej misji i wspieraniu w niej innych: w nas samych, w środowisku życia, we współczesnej kulturze?
Dialog wymaga wytrwałości i cierpliwości, ale umożliwia także wzajemne zrozumienie.
W jaki sposób w naszym Kościele rozwiązywane są konflikty i trudności wynikające z różnicy poglądów, dążeń, oczekiwań? Czy dialog jest naszym sposobem wychodzenia z tych problemów? Jak w tym kontekście wygląda współpraca różnych instytucji, organizacji i ruchów kościelnych? Czy umiemy uczyć się form dialogu od instytucji niekościelnych? Czy dialog jest również przestrzenią naszego spotkania z wyznawcami innych religii i zniewierzącymi?
Dialog między chrześcijanami różnych wyznań, zjednoczonymi przez jeden chrzest,
zajmuje szczególne miejsce na drodze synodalnej.
Jakie relacje ma nasza wspólnota kościelna z członkami innych tradycji chrześcijańskich i wyznań? Co nas łączy i jak razem podążamy? Jakie owoce przyniosło nam wspólne podążanie? Jakie są trudności? Jak możemy zrobić następny krok we wspólnym podążaniu naprzód?
Kościół synodalny jest Kościołem uczestniczącym i współodpowiedzialnym.
Kto w naszym Kościele podejmuje decyzje i czego one dotyczą? Czy jest to wyłącznie forma indywidualnego przewodniczenia czy jest też w tym wymiar wspólnotowy? Czy istnieje współpraca zespołowa i czy w tym kontekście promowane jest zaangażowanie świeckich, np. w radach duszpasterskich i ekonomicznych, w kierowaniu wspólnotami? Czy jesteśmy gotowi podjąć się współodpowiedzialności za podejmowane decyzje i działania?
Na drodze synodalnej podejmujemy decyzje poprzez rozeznawanie tego, co Duch Święty mówi przez całą naszą wspólnotę.
Jak rozumiemy to, że Kościół jest hierarchiczny a nie demokratyczny? Czy w tak zorganizowanym Kościele widzimy miejsce dla wspólnego rozeznawania i podejmowania decyzji całego ludu Bożego wraz z pasterzami? Jak możemy wzrastać we wspólnotowym rozeznawaniu duchowym?
Synodalność pociąga za sobą otwartość na zmiany, formację i ciągłe uczenie się.
Jak formowane są osoby, zwłaszcza te, które pełnią odpowiedzialne funkcje we wspólnocie chrześcijańskiej, aby były bardziej zdolne do słuchania i dialogu, rozeznawania? Czy mamy świadomość odpowiedzialności za własną nieustanną formację do odpowiedzialności i misji ewangelizacyjnej w Kościele?