Editor’s note: The final document of the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and the Discernment of Vocation was just released in Italian. Pray Tell offers a quick, unofficial translation into English of four paragraphs which speak of liturgy. Implicitly, the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council is reaffirmed. And much of what is said about liturgy could be applied to Christians of all ages!
The desire for a living liturgy
51. In diverse contexts young Catholics seek proposals for prayer and sacramental experiences capable of breaking open [intercettare] their daily life, in a fresh, authentic and joyful liturgy. In many parts of the world, liturgical experience is the main resource for Christian identity and witnesses broad and confident participation. The young recognize a privileged moment of experience of God and of the community of the church, and a starting point for mission. Elsewhere, there is a certain falling away from the sacraments and Sunday Eucharist, perceived more as a moral precept than a happy encounter with the Risen Lord and the community. In general it is noted that even where catechesis on the sacraments is offered, educational accompaniment is weak for living the celebration in depth, to enter into the mystery-wealth [ricchezza misterica] of its symbols and rites.
The centrality of the liturgy
134. The Eucharistic celebration is generative of the life of the community and of the synodality of the Church. It is a place for the transmission of faith and formation for mission, in which it is evident that the community lives by grace and not by the work of its own hands. In the words of the Eastern tradition we can affirm that the liturgy is meeting with the Divine Servant who binds our wounds and prepares for us the Easter banquet, sending us to do the same for our brothers and sisters. It must therefore be clearly reaffirmed that the commitment to celebrate with noble simplicity and with the involvement of the various lay ministries constitutes an essential moment in the missionary conversion of the Church. Young people have shown that they are able to appreciate and live intensely authentic celebrations in which the beauty of the signs, the preaching and community involvement really speak of God. Therefore we must encourage their active participation, but keeping alive wonder for the Mystery; to reach out to their musical and artistic sensibility, but to help them understand that the liturgy is not purely an expression of oneself, but an action of Christ and the Church. Equally important is to accompany young people to discover the value of Eucharistic adoration as an extension of the celebration, in which to live out contemplation and silent prayer.
135. The practice of the sacrament of Reconciliation is very important in the journey of faith. Young people need to feel loved, forgiven, and reconciled, and they have a secret longing for the Father’s merciful embrace. This is why it is essential that priests generously make available the celebration of this sacrament. Communal penance services help young people to approach individual confession and make the ecclesial dimension of the sacrament more explicit.
136. In many contexts, popular piety plays an important role in young people’s access to the life of faith in a practical, sensitive and immediate way. Valuing the language of the body and affective participation, popular piety brings with it the desire to come into contact with the God who saves, often through the mediation of the Mother of God and the saints. For the young, pilgrimage is an experience of journey that becomes a metaphor for life and the Church: contemplating the beauty of creation and art, living the fraternity and joining the Lord in prayer thus bring about the best conditions for discernment.