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Rome Reports

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Young U.S. Auditor at Synod speaks to bishops on mentorship: we need one another


There are many young people in Rome during October for the Synod on Youth with a special role, that of auditor. It is a young person specifically chosen to give input on the synod. 

Jonathan Lewis, who works in Pastoral Ministry and Social Concerns for the Archdiocese of Washington, is one of them. He received a formal invitation to the Eternal City by Pope Francis directly, and even got to meet him when he arrived. 

JONATHAN LEWIS
US Synod Auditor
“He sort of walked up the stairs right before we began one session to the surprise of all of us. He wanted to greet all of us and thanked us for being so joyful. We've sort of made the tradition in the Synod Hall of clapping extra loud or cheering a little bit more than the bishops when we've enjoyed things and he's always given us smiles. He told us, 'Make more noise.'”

He says he has been learning so much listening to the interventions, or short 4-minute long speeches, both auditors and bishops have been delivering. 

JONATHAN LEWIS
US Synod Auditor
“So you have the war-torn stories of Iraq, and you have people in North America talking about the need to invade the digital space for the work of evangelization. You have people in the Middle East and Africa and Europe talking about immigration and migration challenges. So it really has just been an eye-opening experience to see the world as big as it is.”

He gave his intervention to the bishops during the second week, speaking about mentorship. He asked how many of the bishops knew a young person by name. Jonathan shared his personal story of remaining in the Church, which was through this sense of accompaniment and community.

JONATHAN LEWIS
US Synod Auditor
“I've always been able to walk together as a group, sort of as a pack of faith. I think we're always trying to be told we can do things alone, that we can just have us and our phone and we'll be happy in life. I think the reminder of this synod process is we need one another. We belong to one another. So practically, in the United States, it's my hope that every parish can be a place where young people can link arm and arm with people.”

He says 40 percent of the population in D.C. is young people in their 20s and 30s. So he hopes the listening he's seen at the Synod can be incorporated to not only his diocese, but to dioceses all around the world. That way, young people will truly feel like an important part in the Church.