Overview and Explanation of the National Dialogue

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1 Overview and Explanation of the National Dialogue In the task of accompanying the younger generations, the Church accepts her call to collaboration in the joy of young people Such a service is ultimately founded in prayer and in asking for the gift of the Spirit, Who guides and enlightens each and every one. (Synod Preparatory Document, Part II, Section 4) The XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment Preparatory Document names the priority that the Church wants again to state her desire to encounter, accompany, and care for every young person, without exception. (Synod Preparatory Document, Part II, Introduction) Furthermore it challenges the entire church to remember, In the task of accompanying the younger generations, the Church accepts her call to collaboration in the joy of young people. Such a service is ultimately founded in prayer and in asking for the gift of the Spirit, Who guides and enlightens each and every one. (Synod Preparatory Document, Part II, Section 4) The hope of this National Dialogue echoes the hope of the V Encuentro process that all Catholic leaders in the United States become authentic and joyful missionary disciples by giving witness to God s love with a prophetic voice. (Introduction, V Encuentro Guide) In light of this priority, challenge, and hope, a national collaborative effort has begun between the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM), the USCCB National Advisory

2 Team on Young Adult Ministry, and the National Catholic Network de Pastoral Juvenil Hispana (LaRED) to engage the church in a National Dialogue on Catholic Pastoral Ministry with Youth and Young Adults with the intent to renew our ministry efforts with these members of our faith community. Vision for the National Dialogue The vision of this initiative is an energized and unified church committed to forming and engaging youth and young adults as missionary disciples. Overall Goals of National Dialogue To achieve the stated vision, the National Dialogue will bring together diverse voices of youth, young adults, parents, ministry leaders, religious, pastors, and bishops in this national conversation. A key focus of the National Dialogue is the understanding that young people are also agents of ministry. To include different models, approaches, movements, and ministerial contexts involved in ministry to young Catholics, such as those in youth, campus, and young adult ministries; pastoral juvenil hispana and other ethnic ministries; religious communities and institutes; educational institutions; national organizations and networks; and lay ecclesial movements, among others. To encourage, empower, and prepare the church to embrace the process and act upon the results of the XV Ordinary Synod and V Encuentro in their ministries with youth and young adults. To mobilize and prepare young adults, parents, and ministry leaders with training and resources for these ministries. A Collaborative Effort With the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment and the V Encuentro underway, this is a unique time in our church to listen to and focus attention to ministry with the younger members of Catholic faith communities and those who minister with them. The National Dialogue will contribute to this reflection by engaging a diverse group of national leaders in Catholic youth and young adult ministries from a variety of settings and organizations to help facilitate the National Dialogue in their specific contexts (such as national movements, conferences, universities, resource organizations, and national organizations). The three-year process will culminate in inviting those who participate to take action on the insights from the XV Ordinary Synod, V Encuentro, and the National Dialogue in order to mobilize their communities for renewed pastoral ministry to youth and young adults. How will the National Dialogue relate to the XV Ordinary Synod and the V Encuentro? The National Dialogue has been designed to help the church in the United States have a macro-level conversation about pastoral ministries to youth and young adults that will intentionally intersect with and include the insights and processes of both the Synod and V Encuentro. It is the intent of the partner organizations sponsoring the National Dialogue to help prepare the church to implement the insights and conclusions from both the XV Ordinary Synod and the V Encuentro through shared dialogue, resources, and commitments. The National Dialogue will be a three-year process that starts by engaging a diverse group of national leaders from a variety of settings to help facilitate the National Dialogue in their specific context (such as national movements, conferences, universities, resource organizations, and national organizations). This group of leaders will make up the National 2

3 Leadership Network, which will engage and lead the National Dialogue. The same definition of young people that the XV Ordinary Synod suggests will be used: the word youth refers to persons who are roughly 16 to 29 years old, while bearing in mind that the term needs to be adapted to local circumstances. In any case, it is good to remember that the term youth, in addition to referring to persons, is a stage of life that each generation understands in an unequal, original manner. Preparatory Document, XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops Vatican City, 2017 Background and Rationale Pastoral ministry in a missionary key seeks to abandon the complacent attitude that says: We have always done it this way. I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities. A proposal of goals without an adequate communal search for the means of achieving them will inevitably prove illusory. I encourage everyone to apply the guidelines found in this document generously and courageously, without inhibitions or fear. The important thing is to not walk alone, but to rely on each other as brothers and sisters, and especially under the leadership of the bishops, in a wise and realistic pastoral discernment. (Evangelii Gaudium, 33) In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis inspires us to confront the status quo of pastoral ministry. All who are involved in pastoral ministry with young Catholics must take a hard look at the sobering realities we face. These realities include: Families who often lack the capacity to fully form their children in the faith Parents and other adults who continue to leave the church in significant numbers Youth and young adults who are frequently inarticulate about the faith Hispanic (and other) young people and families who regularly find a less than welcoming reception or helpful pastoral services Youth and young adults with little opportunity for a quality education that will assist them in becoming meaningfully employed and fully participating citizens Youth and young adults who are on the margins of society and church due to delinquency, gangs, drugs, criminal activity, and/or poverty These pastoral challenges demand new ideas, creative energy, and a commitment between both laity and institutional church organizations to work together to spread the Gospel with authenticity, compassion, and mercy. An important aspect of this National Dialogue is to bring together different models, approaches, movements, and ministerial contexts involved in ministries to youth and young adults to identify a shared commitment in the midst of different models and contexts. An initial planning meeting was held in Chicago in January 2016 where the initiative was named The Church is Young. In the midst of the initial planning for these conversations, the planning team realized that V Encuentro was being planned by the USCCB, which would begin in Additionally, Pope Francis and the Vatican announced that XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment would be held in October 2018 and that the preparation for that Synod would occur throughout 2017 and

4 It was concluded that all three of these international and national processes were engaging an overlapping audience with related purposes possibly resulting in confusion and frustration among those to be engaged in the various processes. These realities caused the planning group to discuss how the National Dialogue could intersect and collaborate, as well as complement and not compete, with the XV Ordinary Synod and V Encuentro. Timeline and Major Activities for the Three-Year National Dialogue Process Unify Year One: January 2017 to June 2018: Unifying for the National Dialogue Year One Goals: 1 To engage a diverse population of people from various national ministerial contexts to participate in a National Leadership Network group so that they can facilitate dialogue with their members or audience. To increase the intercultural competency of national, diocesan, school, and parish leaders to prepare them to engage in broad, diverse, and respectful conversations. To prepare and engage diocesan leaders to facilitate dialogue within their diocese. To develop the process and materials for use in the National Dialogue. Year One Activities: Planning Committee identifies members of the National Leadership Network to facilitate the conversations in their various organizations, contexts, and settings. Sponsor two gatherings of the National Leadership Network. The goal of the gatherings are to facilitate relationship building based upon deep, discerned, shared understandings that identify what divides us and unites us. These will be held September 17-19, 2017 and April 11-13, More details are forthcoming. Intentionally invite and encourage diocesan leadership and organizational participation in local Encuentro processes. Sponsor a breakfast gathering at the Convocation of Catholic Leaders (sponsored by the USCCB) on July 2, 2017, for the National Leadership Network, 4 Accompanying young people requires going beyond a preconceived framework, encountering young people where they are, adapting to their times and pace of life, and taking them seriously. (Synod Preparatory Document, Part III, Section 1)

5 bishops, and diocesan or organizational leaders in pastoral juvenil, youth and young adult ministries, and other related fields. Prepare diocesan and organizational leaders to engage their dioceses/organizations in the National Dialogue including training and sharing, so that they can engage a diverse audience in their local conversations. Write and disseminate a special prayer for the National Dialogue. Create the process for the National Dialogue Year 2 and develop a mobile app for ministry leaders participating in the National Dialogue. Engage Year Two: July 2018 to June 2019: Engaging in the National Dialogue Year Two Goals: 2 To engage a diverse population of youth, young adults, parents/families, and ministry leaders in local or national conversations about the faith experience of young people and missionary discipleship. These conversations will use common questions and processes and result in the identification of effective practices, strategies, and structures for pastoral ministry with youth and young adults. To invite all those involved in the National Dialogue to pray for V Encuentro, XV Ordinary Synod, the 2019 international World Youth Day (including stateside and digital experiences), and the expected apostolic exhortation on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment. Year Two Activities: The National Leadership Network facilitates the participation of their constituency in process and dialogue. The National Dialogue Planning Committee gathers data from all the aforementioned conversations into a common place to track and identify trends and themes including the following strategies: Launching a multilingual mobile app where the leaders of the various conversations can get resources for the National Dialogue and join together in prayer and support. Launching an online survey with a link to a National Dialogue website to post summaries of local conversations which contribute to the goals of the National Dialogue. Mobilize Year Three: July 2019 to June 2020: Mobilizing the Church Year Three Goals: 3 To engage and form the National Leadership Network, as well as the local participants in the National Dialogue, in discerning, integrating, and acting upon the insights of the XV Synod, V Encuentro, and the National Dialogue process. To invite all those who have been involved in the National Dialogue to commit to pastoral actions that form youth and young adult Catholics for missionary discipleship. Year Three Activities: Utilize the National Leadership Network to create dialogue and learning programs around the insights of the XV Synod, V Encuentro, and the National Dialogue. Some possibilities could include, but are not limited to: a national workshop series a massively open online course tools and resources a national video series The National Leadership Network identifies concrete proposals for next steps in mobilizing the church in the United States, in collaboration with the bishops, to form and engage young missionary disciples for the Twenty-First Century. 5

6 Everywhere in the world, parishes, religious congregations, associations, movements, and ecclesial realities exist which can devise and offer young people significant experiences of growth and discernment. (Synod Preparatory Document, Part III, Section 2) 6

7 Leadership Structure for the National Dialogue Two levels of planning and leadership guide the National Dialogue. These include: The National Dialogue Planning Committee is responsible for the regular activities related to sponsoring and implementing the National Dialogue. The Planning Committee consists of the two co-chairs; a primary contact person from each of the partner organizations; a project manager and consultant to the initiative; a staff member from the managing organization (currently, NFCYM serves in this capacity). Additional members will be added as determined by the partner organizations. At present, the National Dialogue Planning Committee includes representatives from the USCCB, LaRED, the NFCYM, and the National Advisory Team for Young Adult Ministry. Together, they shape and lead the National Dialogue and oversee the implementation of its goals. Episcopal Committee Liaison: Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport Co-Chairs: Don Boucher (Diocese of Davenport) and Frances Park Managing Organization Liaison: Christina Lamas (NFCYM Executive Director) LaRED Representative: Rev. Alejandro López-Cardinale (LaRED s President) USCCB Representative: Paul Jarzembowski (USCCB Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth) USCCB National Advisory Team for Young Adult Ministry Representative: Nicholas Stein (Bon Secours Young Adults) Project Consultant and Manager: Dr. Charlotte McCorquodale (Ministry Training Source) The National Leadership Network is a larger group comprised of stakeholders who are leading national organizations, apostolates, and movements committed to ministry with young Catholics. This network serves as a consulting body that helps to design and implement the nationwide conversation process within their respective networks. We invite you to be part of the conversation. 7

8 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops USCCB National Advisory Team on Young Adult Ministry National Federation for catholic youth ministry National Catholic Network de Pastoral Juvenil Hispana

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