Students from the University of South Florida (USF) were pleasantly surprised to be invited to participate in the diocesan phase of the Synod on Synodality. Ryan Phelan, director of youth ministry for the Diocese of St. Petersburg (USA), was one of the facilitators: «It was an experience of humility to be open to what young people had to say and possibly hear negative comments». The students met in small groups from 16 to 18 February for listening sessions facilitated by various pastoral leaders. The young people were grateful for the opportunity to contribute with their opinions. «This experience helped them to feel that the Church cares about them and what they have to say,» said Carly Bosse, campus pastoral minister for the USF Catholic Student Union.
The conversations were fruitful. Both practicing and non-practicing Catholics and non-Catholics participated. «It was special to hear their opinions, and also to see the questions they have about the Church,» Phelan said. Some of the questions were about the sacraments and how they help them on their spiritual journey.
Father Kyle Bell, director of USF’s Catholic Student Union, organised the listening sessions with the help of his campus leadership team. He described the events as «beautiful days of dialogue and conversation.»
Read the story in English on the diocese’s website https://gulfcoastcatholic.org/we-are-here-listen-usf-students-participate-vatican-synod
Also check out the diocesan website full of synod resources! https://www.dosp.org/synod/