The South African youth leader continued, “We are in fact privileged to have this time, platform and space to overcome any false starts and resistance that we might have at present, but rather embrace this time that we have to speak and a time to have silence and discernment.”
Ms. Yon who has been a member of the Vatican International Youth Advisory Body since its establishment in November 2019 further said the Synod on Synodality is “so pivotal and so different from what we are used to when we have any kind of faith sharing experience.”
“It's an opportunity for our Church to not just assume what the youth need or want but to actually hear from them directly,” Ms. Yon, a teacher at Christian Brothers College in Parklands, Cape Town, told participants at the March 30 SECAM webinar.
In a statement announcing the virtual event shared with ACI Africa, SECAM leadership indicated that the session that would have the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Mario Cardinal Grech, as the main speaker, was “on how synodality can be translated in local contexts.”
“In this synodal process, the Holy Spirit is inviting local Churches to discern and journey together,” the statement further indicated about the webinar that would have input from other representatives of the Catholic Church in Africa, including SECAM leadership, women Religious, and the Laity.
“The focus of this synodal process is on how the Holy Spirit is inviting local Churches to journey together,” SECAM leadership indicated in the three-page letter that had the webinar program, adding, “The People of God are being invited to embrace the spirit of dialogue, participation, and co-responsibility so as to discern together how God is calling the Church to be in the third millennium.”
In her presentation, Ms. Yon said the process for the Synod on Synodality “has been so unique and positive for those who have experienced the listening circles so far to allow that time for the Holy Spirit to truly be the protagonist of synodality, the protagonist of the change that we need in our church and in our communities.”
“The timing of the Synod on Synodality couldn't be more perfect through this COVID-19 experience as a lot of our young people have been comfortable staying away from the Church,” she said.
Ms. Yon added, in reference to the youth in Africa who have kept off the church after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, “This is an opportunity to get them back, to draw them in because if young people do not feel that they are heard, then they don't feel that they are part of a community. And if they are not part of the community or church, then that is why they leave because why do they then need to stay?”
The South African Catholic youth leader continued, “This is truly an opportunity to not go back to the way things were necessarily before COVID, but to truly renew and be a better and a more listening Church as a whole.”