The accompaniment of the young at the core of the forthcoming CCEE Symposium in Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain, 28-31 March 2017

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About 200 participants, including bishops and persons in charge of the pastoral care for youth, school, university, vocations, and catechesis of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences in Europe will meet on March, 28-31, 2017, in Barcelona, Spain, to discuss and share on the issue of the accompaniment of young people.

The Symposium, entitled He walked by their side (Lk 24:15) - Accompanying young people to freely respond to Christ's call, is promoted by the Council of European Catholic Bishops' Conferences (CCEE) in collaboration with the Spanish Catholic Bishops' Conference and the Archdiocese of Barcelona. The meeting, which will also be attended by representatives of lay associations and ecclesial movements, will be an opportunity to reflect together on the way we can accompany the youth, in their unity as complete persons and in their journey of faith.

In addition to the greetings of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster (Vice-President of CCEE), and Msgr. Juan José Omella Omella, Archbishop of Barcelona, ​​as well as the contributions of Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa (President of CCEE), and Msgr. Marek Jedraszewski, Archbishop of Krakow, President of the CCEE Commission for Catechesis, School, and University, the participants will have the opportunity to listen to the reflections and testimonies of several national directors and young people.

A journey in three stages

In Barcelona, ​​the work will include a path in three stages that, starting with young people, will continue with a reflection on the challenges of accompaniment in the light of the current European socio-cultural context, and will conclude on the figure of those who accompany young people, their education, their needs... These three stages will be later explored through a sharing of "best practices" among the participants and a presentation-visit to the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, as an example of the proclamation of the Gospel and a way of accompanying people through art and architecture.

The Symposium will also include several moments of prayer and the daily celebration of the Eucharist.

The main objective of the Meeting is to recognize the crucial role of accompanying young people and propose a reflection to the European Church. The CCEE will make national delegates from various specialized pastoral areas of the entire European continent (catechesis, school, university, and vocations) work together on a single subject: the accompaniment of young people to respond freely to Christ’s call by taking as an example the pattern of "He walked by their side" (Lk 24:15) proposed by Jesus in the episode of his encounter with the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-35).

In preparation for the 2018 Synod

After the preparatory document "Young People, Faith, and Vocation Discernment" and while waiting for the distribution of the questionnaire of the Synod of Bishops (Holy See) addressed to young people from all around the world, this European Symposium is a significant step in the journey that will lead the Church to celebrate in October 2018 a Synod on the theme of youth and vocations.

The outcome of Barcelona will be taken directly to the Synod and will serve as a basis for reflection in the next Plenary Assembly of the CCEE (Minsk, September 28 – October 1, 2017) that will be focused on the issue of young people. In fact, the CCEE wants to offer to the Synod Fathers its own specific contribution.

Precisely in view of the Synod of 2018, during the Meeting, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, will animate a moment of sharing with the pastoral agents.

A process of preparation and guidelines for reflection in 12 points

The Symposium was prepared by means of a process that began in September 2015 in Malta, even before the summoning of the Synod, a sign of the extent to which the focus on young people is central to the Church in Europe. Since March 2016, this focus has been developing through several meetings: Meeting of the National Delegates for Catechesis (Rabat, Malta, March 1-4, 2016), Meeting of the National Delegates for the Pastoral Care of University and Youth (Szeged, Hungary, April 27-29, 2016), Meeting of the National Directors for Vocations (Brussels, Belgium, May 10-11, 2016), and Meeting of a Working Group of Schools Ministry (Paris, France, May 16, 2016). For further information : www.ccee.eu

Based on the results of these meetings some guidelines for reflection in 12 points were drawn up (please find them in the Symposium website) with the aim of promoting a Pan-European interdisciplinary reflection in preparation for the Symposium.

Please find more information (program, guidelines, best practices, etc.) in the website of the Symposium (http://symposium2017.ccee.eu/).

 

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