Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput turned over his weekly Catholic Philly column to a University of Notre Dame student, who hopes an upcoming Vatican synod will encourage young people to take personal responsibility for the “decisive missions” of vocations and Christian discipleship.
“It’s a very exciting time to be a young American Catholic,” wrote Notre Dame senior Daniel Lindstrom.
In a brief introduction to Lindstrom’s column, Chaput wrote that “With a world synod of bishops focusing on young people set for this fall, listening to the young and those involved in guiding them is important. So this week, as in recent weeks, I’m turning over my column to someone who can speak directly from the experience of a young adult.”
Lindstrom, the graduate of a Philadelphia-area Catholic high school, wrote that despite the “trouble the Church faces today, much more hope is blooming.” He cited programs such as FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), the Culture Project, and other organizations for their work in helping to “establish and fortify pockets of young, faithful Catholic leaders.”
While these groups are important, and form Catholic communities, Lindstrom wrote, it was the sudden death of a residence hall director on Notre Dame’s campus that sparked the realization that while community is important, solitude is equally so. In the end, explained Lindstrom, a person will be alone with God.
“The priest’s words and God’s grace caused me to switch perspective for a moment,” said Lindstrom, “and imagine how I might rely on God’s embrace at my life’s end much differently than the way I do now,” in a community of Catholics at Mass.
“After all the vitality of these young years, when we near the end of our journeys, our discipleship will depend on our own inner lives,” Lindstrom noted. Our inner selves, he explained, are “vulnerable and exposed,” and are alone with Christ.
“It’s in listening with the ears of our hearts that we’re given the opportunity to say yes to God’s call,” said Lindstrom, and that this “personal yes” is the start of a person’s vocation.
“With renewed focus and zeal on the part of the Church, young people can claim their faith and set off of on faith’s great adventure.”
On Tuesday, a working paper for the synod was released that focused on questions about sexuality and gender issues, among other social and moral issues.
The synod will be held October 3-28, in Rome. Chaput is a delegate to the meeting.