20 Notes & Comments

posted Oct 10, 2018, 10:52 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 10, 2018, 10:52 AM ]

Church needs to get closer to youth: Indian delegate

Santosh Digal, mattersindia.com

Cherylanne Menezes is the only woman in the 14-member Indian delegation participating in the Synod of Bishops in Rome, on the theme: 'Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.' She shared her expectations from the Synod:

CHERYLANNE MENEZES: I was brought up in Mumbai, Maharashtra, Western India, in a family that has been very involved in the local parish, as well as in the multi-religious community where we lived.

I come from an Economics and Commerce background from Sydenham College, Mumbai, and I have always been in the field of Management. I currently work for a multinational chemical firm. I have done my Masters in Trinitarian Onthology at the Sophia Institute University, Italy, with a thesis related to the Hindu-Christian dialogue in the Focolare Movement.

I have been involved in the Focolare Movement since I was 17, and at various points of time, I have had opportunities to jointly coordinate the youth formation programmes and activities.

Pope Francis picked 14 Indian delegates for the Synod. How does it feel to be a part of the delegation?

Well, it did not strike me that I was the only woman until I read the statistics. I feel humbled, and at the same time, convinced that there is a lot to contribute in terms of experience, and a lot to learn from others. I am looking forward to it.

What is the importance and need of the Synod on Youth?


Without young people, the Church has no tomorrow


Among the multitude taking part in the opening Mass of the Synod dedicated to young people in St Peter's Square, some were from India.

They said that the Church must listen more to young people, involve them in its initiatives, "rejuvenate" its leadership with younger blood, and support families in spiritually educating the new generations.

Some noted that young people are active in Catholic associations, but others complained of a void in many Indian parishes where there is "little room for them."

Above all, the common denominator seems to be the inability to understand young people, their dreams and aspirations; at the same time, they stressed the need to accompany them in their journey of vocation, discernment and support of the faith.

The small number of youth delegates at the Synod (36 v/s 266 Church leaders) and their lack of vote has been a controversial issue in the past few days.


Bishops, besides listening, must guide us: Daniel Bashir


"Catholic bishops, in addition to listening to us young people, should guide us," said Daniel Bashir, a young Synod delegate from Pakistan.

He is one of the 36 young auditors invited to participate in the Synod of Bishops, tasked with helping the Church to better understand young people and touch their destiny, renewing them in faith and vocation.

For Daniel, to reach this goal, Catholic leaders (meeting in the Vatican until October 28) should "advise us. Many of us don't know what to do with our lives, what path to choose. Help us understand it through faith."

A young doctor from Karachi, Daniel is also the national coordinator of Jesus Youth, an international movement of lay missionaries. He has been lucky in life, because not all young people in his country have the opportunity to study that he has had.

If one really wants to understand how Pakistan's youth live, "the first distinction that needs to be made is between those who study and those who do not. Everything revolves around that."