MUMBAI, India – A group of young people gathered in Mumbai on Sunday to celebrate Synodgy 2018, an event to help the young people of India participate spiritually in the Synod of Bishops meeting on the youth taking place this month in Rome.
“Synodgy is celebrating this Universal event on the home ground,” said Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay. The cardinal is in Rome for the synod and sent his remarks in a video message.
“Stay high and excited in our faith in Jesus Christ. Synodgy is here to ignite you and inspire you to work together youthfully and faithfully even as we commit to listen to you, accompany you so that you make your choices and decisions which will bring you inner contentment, reveal the beauty and meaning of life and the Christian life,” Gracias said.
The event was taking place at St. Andrew’s College in the Bandra neighborhood, a center of Catholicism in Mumbai.
“The term ‘Synodgy’ was coined by me,” Father Magi Murzello, the rector of St Andrew’s College, told Crux.
“The word ‘synergy’ comes from Greek: ‘Sun’ = together; ‘Ergon’ = work; ‘Sunerigos’ = working together. Hence, I suggested ‘Synodgy’= Synod & Youth working together,” the priest said.
The event included a video presentation consisting of interviews with young people, who spoke about the relevance of the Church today and what they would do if they were made pope for a day.
In his message, Gracias said the pope was inviting the entire Church to be involved in a time of ‘Kairos,’ that is, a time of opportunity.
“The Church knows that we cannot offer yesterday’s solutions to the problems you face today. And so in order to better respond through the lens of the Gospels, Pope Francis wants this to be a graceful time where we move forward as a Church relevant in our days,” the cardinal said.
“The Second Vatican Council had a catchphrase, ‘aggiornamento’ which means ‘renewal.’ With this universal event I am certain we will add new oxygen and renewal in the ways we serve the young people,” Gracias continued. “Pope Francis edifies our understanding of reaching out to youth. Even in the preparatory document of the synod he states: Youth are the protagonists, the main actors in the Church of today. And so over these years of preparations he is calling us to be a listening Church that accompanies you having discerned God’s plan for every young person.”
The cardinal said the Church knows that there is no textbook approach to reaching the young people of today.
“We want to encounter you in the flesh and in the wounds and bruises you live with. So, listening to young people have happened by way of surveys where youth of all dioceses of the world responded including our own Archdiocese of Bombay,” he explained.
“Three hundred youth gathered in Rome in March 2018 from all over the world, including youth of our own country, to meet and share joys and pains they encounter in the walk of life. Pope Francis was there in person listening to all, willing to accompany young people without judgement. This is a dialogue of encounter like the many encounters Jesus had with persons in the flesh of his day,” Gracias said.
The cardinal also discussed the process of the synod, and the Instrumentum Laboris, the working document formulated to guide the synod in its work.
“The three verbs that capture the essence of this working paper are recognizing, interpreting, and choosing. This will help Mother Church to be a Church searching for ways to reach out knowing that we are vivified by the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit,” Gracias said.
“This is going to be the springboard for the Church to be a young and vibrant Church once again, like we hear of the early Christians in the Acts of the Apostles. Someone said the early Christians were Christians of the Best edition. But not they alone, each of you, young people will bring the Church alive as you opt to be Disciples of Jesus and witness to Him by your way of life which is the only Gospel some people ever see,” he continued.
Gracias is one of five bishops from India in Rome for the Synod meeting. In addition to being Archbishop of Bombay, the cardinal is President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. Gracias also serves as one of the members of the C9 Council of Cardinals that advises Francis on the reform of the Curia and other issues affecting the worldwide Church.
Before the beginning of the Synodgy event in Mumbai, the young people were expected to recite the rosary.
“Since it is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. I had suggested that Synodgy begin with a Rosary Crusade, with a very meaningful rosary dramatization,” Murzello told Crux.
Deacon Ivan Fernandes of the Diocesan youth center told Crux more than 1,000 young people were participating in the crusade, with the 800 others in the auditorium at the college joining in the Marian devotion.