Synod on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment

‘Taking care of young people is not an optional task for the Church, but an integral part of her vocation and mission in history. In just a few words, this is the specific scope of the upcoming Synod: just as our Lord Jesus Christ walked alongside the disciples of Emmaus, the Church is also urged to accompany all young people, without exception, towards the joy of love. Instrumentum Laboris

Updates from the Synod - Day one

We have arrived in Rome for our CYMFed conference as part of the Synod on Youth, Faith & Vocational discernment. As we pray the first prayer of the week, we thank God for our safe journey. We are grateful for the Gift of Faith and the confidence to share with others. Even on our journey I was conscious that Abbey & myself were talking about the week ahead and the Synod. It’s through these conversations that we will be able to experience the Synod in a way that we can share on our return to the diocese. This evening we’ll meet up for dinner before the conference begins tomorrow. ‘Let us never be afraid to share our Faith with others so that we may truly be the light of the world You have called us to be.’


Updates from the Synod - Day two

Tuesday had been a very full day at the CYMFed conference in Rome. We heard from Paul Jarzembowski from the Bishops conference in America. He gave a fantastic talk about how the Synod is working and the main themes of accompanying young people. You can hear Paul in our video we took for our young people in Clifton. He gave a real insight into how Pope Francis had embraced young people in the Synod. Dr Karen North put youth ministry research into context for us and spoke of an inspirational Church that recognises the importance of young people. This evening we are having a meal together that will enable us to unpack the day and learn from each others experience. On Wednesday we have an audience with Pope Francis. Look out for lots of photos and interviews! Our challenge of Faith in our diocesan daily prayer is our inspiration as we hope to put what we have heard into action.

Dr Karen North

Updates from the Synod - Day three

This morning Myself and Abbey experienced the gift of Faith! Surrounded by hundreds of Catholics in St Peter’s Square waiting for Pope Francis. When he arrived, he was full of joy to see us, smiling all the way around the square and on the sanctuary. He spoke about the 5th commandment thou shalt not kill. Pope Francis turned this around into reflecting about our human ability to love. When we hurt others and cause pain to children especially, we are not respecting the love God has for us, shown on the Cross. It was a time full of prayer, reflection and joy. The early start was worth it for an inspirational day. We have prayed this morning for Bishop Declan and all those who work in Alexander House & St Ambrose who work hard to support our parishes. See the videos from Andy from HCPT and Sarah from CAFOD who share their thoughts on the Synod and answer some questions from our Mock Synod.

Updates from the Synod - Day four

Today has been all about Witness in our CYMFED conference. Just as our Diocesan prayer calls us to witness to all people, so we have shared the joys and challenges of Youth Ministry. On Wednesday evening we met briefly with the Synod Father’s who spoke about being challenged as Bishops by the young people present. This morning, Fr Paul Farren from the diocese of Derry spoke to the conference about how the church is recognised by our wounds and fragility, but that is where we meet Christ. He also spoke about the danger of always doing the same thing and conforming to the norm, rather than following the example of Jesus and making a necessary mess and a joyful noise. Fr Paul challenged us to focus of Jesus in our ministry, making it about Him rather than the ‘work’ of ministry. In the afternoon Dave was invited by the conference to share the good Youth Ministry practice taking place in the Clifton Diocese. As CYMFED we have challenged ourselves to not let this opportunity brought about by the Synod, to go to waste and to urge our Bishop’s to prioritise Youth Ministry. We closed our conference with Mass bringing together all we have experienced and reflected on during our time in Rome.

Updates from the Synod - Day five
Our diocesan prayer today is on The Cross, Sign of Faith. As we wait at the airport for our flight back to Bristol, myself and Abbey have been reflecting on the highlights of the conference. There have been so many and there is a need to reflect deeply on the messages coming from the Synod before making plans for the diocese. It’s been a privilege to be in Rome, and we thank our fellow CYMfed members for their support and hospitality. We especially thank Dom Finn, CYMfed project worker for her organisation and guiding hand on the conference. We also thank the diocesan community for following our progress in Rome, praying with us during this week of prayer, and for enabling us to represent our great Diocese of Clifton.
Our Diocesan week of prayer continues over this weekend and in all our parishes, we hope that young people continue to be welcomed and empowered to share the good news and enjoy a personal relationship with Jesus.

What is a Synod?

Literally speaking the word “synod”, derived from two Greek words syn meaning “together” and hodos meaning “road” or “way”, means a “coming together”. A Synod is a religious meeting or assembly at which bishops, gathered around and with the Holy Father, have opportunity to interact with each other and to share information and experiences, in the common pursuit of pastoral solutions which have a universal validity and application. The Synod, generally speaking, can be defined as an assembly of bishops representing the Catholic episcopate, having the task of helping the Pope in the governing of the universal Church by rendering their counsel. Pope John Paul II has referred to the Synod as “a particularly fruitful expression and instrument of the collegiality of bishops”. (


Each diocese in England and Wales has been asked to send a young person who can represent the young people of the diocese in meetings with the national rep at the Bishop’s Conference. Abbey Mounter from Bristol has been involved with diocesan youth ministry for a number of years including pilgrimages to Lourdes, diocesan days and now as a lay Chaplain at St Bede’s, she coordinates their involvement in the CAFOD Young Volunteers programme. Abbey is a parishioner of St Bernard’s Shirehampton serving on the altar and studying Theology at Bristol University. Follow Abbey’s progress as our Youth rep as we move towards the Synod in October