With the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment” and the V Encuentro underway, this is a unique time in our church to listen to and focus attention to ministry with the younger members of Catholic faith communities and those who minister with them. The National Dialogue will contribute to this reflection by engaging a diverse group of national leaders in Catholic youth and young adult ministries from a variety of settings and organizations to help facilitate the National Dialogue in their specific contexts (such as national movements, conferences, universities, resource organizations, and national organizations). The three-year process will culminate in inviting those who participate to take action on the insights from the XV Ordinary Synod, V Encuentro, and the National Dialogue in order to mobilize their communities for renewed pastoral ministry to youth and young adults.

Download Calendar for Synod, V Encuentro, and National Dialogue HERE.

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.”
— Pope Francis

An initial planning meeting for the National Dialogue was held in Chicago of January 2016 where the initiative was named The Church is Young. In the midst of the initial planning for these conversations, the planning team realized that V Encuentro was being planned by the USCCB, which would begin in 2017. Additionally, Pope Francis and the Vatican announced that XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment” would be held in October 2018 and that the preparation for that Synod would occur throughout 2017 and 2018.

It was concluded that all three of these international and national processes were engaging an overlapping audience with related purposes possibly resulting in confusion and frustration among those to be engaged in the various processes. These realities caused the planning group to discuss how the National Dialogue could intersect and collaborate, as well as compliment and not compete, with the XV Ordinary Synod and V Encuentro.

The National Dialogue has been designed to help the Church in the United States have a macro-level conversation about pastoral ministries to youth and young adults that will intentionally intersect with and include the insights and processes of both the Synod and Encuentro. It is the intent of the partner organizations sponsoring the National Dialogue to help prepare the Church to implement the insights and conclusions from both the XV Ordinary Synod and the V Encuentro through shared dialogue, resources, and commitments.