Last week an extraordinary virtual synodal conversation took place across the Americas. Pope Francis listened to Catholic university students from North, South Central America and the Caribbean as they shared their experiences, insights, frustrations and plans to make the world a better place on issues important to them like migration, climate change, and growing income inequality.
For nearly two hours Pope Francis listened to university students, took notes, and engaged them in a dialogue in this Feb. 24 synodal event hosted by Loyola University Chicago in collaboration with other Catholic universities. The pope spoke in Spanish and translation was available in English, Spanish and Portuguese. In the weeks prior to this meeting with Pope Francis, regional synodal gatherings took place with 131 students at 58 universities from 21 countries.
One moment that stood out for me was when Pope Francis encouraged students to “armar lío con esperanza” which essentially translates into making good trouble with love. He encouraged students to be the conscience of society. I love this perspective that the synodal journey invites students to ask challenging questions of church and civic leaders, to point towards emerging frontiers, and to be rooted in the ideals, hopes and dreams of the Gospel.
“The Holy Spirit needs us,” said Pope Francis, “This is the vocation of Christians; to build bridges.
Nearly 6,000 people participated in the live streamed event, and if you didn’t get to see it last week, it is well worth your watch this week! It’s a model for the kinds of courageous and creative conversations that are possible as a People of God on the synodal path.
Here’s the link to recording: Building Bridges: A Synodal Encounter between Pope Francis and University Students
You may also read this article about the event by Brian Fraga of NCR.