The XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment” Preparatory Document names the priority that “…the Church wants again to state her desire to encounter, accompany, and care for every young person, without exception.” (Synod Preparatory Document,Part II, Introduction)

Furthermore it challenges the entire church to remember, “In the task of accompanying the younger generations, the Church accepts her call to collaboration in the joy of young people… Such a service is ultimately founded in prayer and in asking for the gift of the Spirit, Who guides and enlightens each and every one.”  (Synod Preparatory Document,Part II, Section 4)

The hope of this National Dialogue echoes the hope of the V Encuentro process that “all Catholic leaders in the United States…become authentic and joyful missionary disciples by giving witness to God’s love with a prophetic voice.” (Introduction, V Encuentro Guide)

In light of this priority, challenge, and hope, a national collaborative effort has begin between the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM), the USCCB National Advisory Team on Young Adult Ministry, the National Catholic Network de Pastoral Juvenil Hispana (LaRed), and the Catholic Campus Ministry Association (CCMA) to engage the church in a National Dialogue on Catholic Pastoral Ministry with Youth and Young Adults with the intent to renew our ministry efforts with these members of our faith community.

Vision for the National Dialogue
The vision of this initiative is an energized and unified Church committed to
forming and engaging youth and young adults as missionary disciples.

Overall Goals of National Dialogue

  • To achieve the stated vision, the National Dialogue will bring together diverse voices of youth,   young adults, parents, ministry leaders, religious, pastors, and bishops in this national conversation. A key focus of the National Dialogue is the understanding that young people are also agents of ministry.
  • To include different models, approaches, movements, and ministerial contexts involved in ministry to young Catholics, such as those in youth, campus, and young adult ministries; pastoral juvenil hispana and other ethnic ministries; religious communities and institutes; educational institutions; national organizations and networks; lay ecclesial movements; among others.
  • To encourage, empower, and prepare the church to embrace the process and act upon the results of the XV Ordinary Synod and V Encuentro in their ministries with youth and young adults.
  • To mobilize and prepare young adults, parents, and ministry leaders with training and resources for these ministries.
all young people, without exception, have the right to be guided in life’s journey.”
— Pope Francis

The National Dialogue will be a three-year process that starts by engaging a diverse group of national leaders from a variety of settings to help facilitate the National Dialogue in their specific context (such as national movements, conferences, universities, resource organizations, and national organizations). This group of leaders will make up the National Leadership Network, which will engage and lead the National Dialogue.

The same definition of “young people” that the XV Ordinary Synod suggests will be used:

“…the word ‘youth’ refers to persons who are roughly 16 to 29 years old, while bearing in mind that the term needs to be adapted to local circumstances. In any case, it is good to remember that the term ‘youth,’ in addition to referring to persons, is a stage of life that each generation understands in an unequal, original manner.”
(Preparatory Document, XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops Vatican City, 2017)