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US bishops launch year-long dialogue with young Catholics

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CNA Staff, Jul 27, 2020 / 03:00 pm MT (CNA).- Last weekend, a group of 300 Catholics, including 30 bishops and the apostolic nuncio to the United States, kicked off a new, yearlong initiative by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops aimed at improving relations with young people.

The program, called “Journeying Together,” launched across the weekend of July 25-26. It was originally scheduled to begin with an in-person conference to be held July 23-26 in Cleveland, but was moved online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In-person meetings are not expected to resume until 2021.

The initiative is sponsored by the USCCB’s Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, together with the secretariats of Catholic Education and of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. It is running in collaboration with the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry and the National Dialogue on Catholic Pastoral Ministry with Youth and Young Adults.

According to the USCCB, Journeying Together aims to “meet, listen to, engage, collaborate with, and celebrate young people of all cultures,” as well as to “assess the intercultural fruitfulness of the Church’s approach to youth and young adults,” “discern adequate and actionable responses to identified pastoral needs of young people,” and “be inspired to act after prayerful reflection on Pope Francis’ Christus Vivit.”

Christus Vivit is a post-synodal exhortation issued by Pope Francis in 2019. It is addressed “To young people and the entire people of God.”

Archbishop Nelson Perez of Philadelphia, who leads the USCCB’s cultural diversity committee, said that he is looking forward to the chance to dialogue with young people, and predicted it would be a mutually enriching experience.

“Over the course of the next year, it is my hope that we can have honest conversations on these and other issues impacting young people and on how we can move ahead on important questions of race, culture, and community,” Nelson said in a statement published on July 22.

Perez requested prayers on Twitter on Friday ahead of the official launch of the program, asking Catholics to “please pray for all those involved and the important work that will be undertaken over the next year.”

“May the Holy Spirit bless and guide this initiative,” he said.

Bishop Edward Burns of Dallas, who participated in the Zoom launch of the initiative, tweeted that it was a “joy” to have been a part of the opening session.

“Congratulations to the organizers, the presenters/panelists as well as the expert zoomers who made this happen,” said Burns.

“Let us pray that the Lord will bless our endeavors and give success to the work of our hands,” he added.

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