Australia will be represented by Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli, Melbourne Auxiliary Bishop Mark Edwards OMI and Sebastian Duhau, a 22-year-old from Sydney.
The theme for the synod is: Young people, the faith and vocational discernment.
Synod participants have been given a working document based on input from bishops' conferences, religious orders, offices of the Roman Curia and Catholic organisations; an online survey open to anyone aged from 16 to 29 years; and a document prepared with the input of more than 300 young people who met in Rome in March at the invitation of the Pope.
“Hearing from hundreds of thousands, or possibly even millions, of youth from around the world in the lead-up to a Synod of Bishops is something we have never done before. Youth, young faith and young vocations are some of the most important issues for the Church today and into the future.” Archbishop Fisher told Catholic Outlook.
The young people of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle took part in discussions and the online survey leading up to the synod so their voices will be added to the many, and taken into consideration.
Addressing the pre-synod gathering in March, Pope Francis said that young people are the ones who can help the church fight "the logic of 'it's always been done this way,' " which he described as "a poison, a sweet poison that tranquilizes the heart and leaves you anesthetized so you can't walk."
The Catholic News Service says that “to equip young people to take their rightful place in the church, church leaders must listen to them, be as honest as possible in responding to their questions and pass on to them the art of discernment.”
Discernment, according to the synod working document, is a prayerful process that "leads us to recognize — and become attuned with — the action of the Spirit in true spiritual obedience. In this way, it becomes openness to new things, courage to move outward and resistance to the temptation of reducing what is new to what we already know."
After the Synod, it is expected that an apostolic exhortation on the topic of Young people, the faith and vocational discernment will be released. This is traditionally what happens after each Synod.