The San Diego Diocese began a process in September of 2019 that asked young adults from every parish to “dream big” about how they would create a Church that engaged their generation and helped them to grow in their faith. The consultation, called a synod, was titled “Christ Lives! A Time of Dreams and Decisions.”
It was inspired by Pope Francis, who urged bishops worldwide to update their ministries to serve families and young adults in a teaching document, called an apostolic exhortation. In that document, “Christus Vivit” (Christ Lives), issued in March of 2019, the Pope reflected on the challenges young people face today and encouraged them to be vibrant voices in the Church.
“We all anguish on how to engage our young people in the life and mission of the Church,” San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy wrote in a letter to priests announcing the young adult synod.
The Bishop said that the goal of the synod was for the Catholic Church in San Diego “to provide a time for young adults to dream big and make decisions about walking with Christ and to engage the local Church to accompany them in the mission of Jesus.”
The synod process involved listening to young adults, ages 18 to 39, who were active in the Church, and those who considered themselves unaffiliated. Each parish priest selected one young adult who served as a delegate, along with three additional ones, for a total of 240 who participated in the synod. The average age of participants was 26 years.
They represented a variety of social, economic and cultural backgrounds found in the diocese, including single people, married (with and without children) and divorced. They also included perspectives from the military, “Dreamers” and LGBTQ, among others.