“Don’t be afraid to listen to the spirit which suggests you bold options, do not lose time when your conscience will ask you to risk to follow the Master. Also, the Church would like to listen to the voice, the sensitivity, the faith of each one; as well as also the doubts and criticisms. Make your cry heard by all, let it resonate in the communities and make it reach the shepherds”. 

These are the words that Pope Francis directs to them youth of all the world in his “Letter with occasion of the presentation of the Preparatory Document of the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops“, posted the day January 13 of 2017.

Indeed, the Pope has convened a Synod on young people. More precisely, a Synod on “Youth, faith and vocational discernment“. Few topics are certainly targeting the heart of the Piarist life and mission, to the profound meaning of the vocation of those of us who are educators, and to keys from which the sons and daughters of Calasanz work to build the Pious Schools, a Church and a World based on the values of the Gospel and the generosity of the vocation of children and young people who grow up and walk among us seeking to find the love of God for their lives.

The General Congregation has received the announcement of this Synod as a gift from the Pope in the Calasanctian Jubilee Year, but also as an exciting challenge, to which we want to respond ” Calasanz style”, looking in the eyes of the young man whom we accompany, listening to his heart, accompanying his way and building together with him the Kingdom of God that is offered as a gift and a task.

Therefore, we want to call the Pious Schools to be “standing for Synod“. We propose an itinerary for three intense years of listening, welcoming, sharing, celebrating and walking with young people, which will culminate with the reception of the Apostolic Exhortation, which will be the fruit of the Synod of October 2018, that we will receive some months later.

Our Order has already taken an important step regarding the preparation of the Synod of 2018, with the “PrayforSynod” initiative, which is having an excellent reception in the broader context of the Church. What we now want to propose is that in the Pious Schools we adopt “dynamics of Synod” to live, in all our contexts, what the Pope is asking the Church: listen to the voice of young people.

In this letter, we send you only a first communication with a very simple objective: to collect your ideas and proposals regarding this initiative. We synthesize the proposal:

1. We propose an itinerary for three years in which all the Piarist presences and at all levels of the life of the Pious Schools bring forward a way of listening, of reflection, of celebration, of welcome, of proposals, whose Center are the young people who we accompany and their deepest aspirations of Life and Gospel.

2. That itinerary will start with a CALL LETTER, which will be sent to all by Fr. General in the days of the Passover of 2017. The Synod path of the Pious Schools will then start. In that letter we will convene all youth, all Piarists, all educators and the whole of the Piarist Fraternities to “walk synodically” to find, open to the inspirations of the Spirit, the will of God for this time of the Pious Schools and young people. We look for and we propose a “Piarist Synod of Youth“.

3. This road will have three fundamental phases:

a. A first stage, which will take place in each Piarist presence and in each Demarcation. This phase will begin in May 2017 and should be finished by March 2018. Each Demarcation, according to its calendar, will determine its own itinerary of activities.

b. A second stage, to be held at Circumscription level, and which will run from March until October 2018.

c. The third stage shall be at a general level. It will begin with the Synod and conclude with the reception of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation. Obviously, some of our young people in a possible Calasanz Day convened in the context of the WYD of January 2019 will be part – in the way that will be possible – of this general stage of the synodal route.

4. All this process will conclude with the celebration of an “Assembly of the Piarist Youth“, which will take place at the end of 2019 and whose fruits – we hope – may illuminate the works of the 48th General Chapter of the Pious Schools. Obviously, it all depends on the date in which the Pope will publish the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation.

5. The General Congregation will constitute, in its time, a Coordinating Commission of this project, as well as four Circumscription Commissions. The functions and objectives of these Commissions will be clear from the first moment.

6. The General Congregation now opens a two-month consultation period, so that those wishing to make their contributions before this proposal can make it. Everything must get written – and jointly – to three e-mail addresses:

a. Fr. General: supgen@scolopi.net 

b. Fr. Francisco Anaya, Assistant for America, President of the Coordinating Commission of the ” Piarist Synod of Youth” (america@scolopi.net)

c. M. Guillermo Gómez, Coordinator of the Calasanz Movement (guillermogomez@escolapiosbetania.es)

7. The suggestions and proposals you wish to send us (together at the three e-mail addresses listed) may relate to all kinds of issues that you consider relevant for the setting up of this proposal (names of people, suggestion about activities, thematic nuclei, celebrations, actions, etc.). Obviously, it must be guaranteed that young people of all the Piarist processes make their contributions, and in particular, the young Piarist religious.

8. As sons of Calasanz, we want to put under the protection of Mary, our Mother, all this way we want to go, so that she will get for all the fruits that we hope and need, fruits of Life, of Gospel and of Mission.

Thank you very much to everyone for your welcome and availability.