Green said that one thing that helped her in discerning her vocation, besides prayer and time in silence, was the presence of good mentors in her life.
Kerishé Higgins, 29, and a youth director in Jamaica, also noted the importance of accompaniment. She mentioned that at a time when she was deeply struggling with her faith, lack of support was very apparent.
“At that moment, there was no one who was journeying with me, there was no one who was walking with me,” she told CNA. “And so you see the need for that accompaniment. That person who understands the faith, who is trying to live out their faith.”
No one is perfect, she acknowledged, but what is important is that you have a community of people who are all trying to live out the call to sainthood, to holiness. “That constant striving,” she said.
Her hope for the outcome of the synod is that “we recognize that as a community each person has a part to play and that we play that part.” But to do that, young people need the support of the Church, she said.
Particularly in education and training to help people understand what their role is, how they can contribute, even how they can contribute to the development and support of another person in turn – whether that’s in their own neighborhood or across the world in a place that needs help.
“And I think that's what I have personally been trying to do and that's what the synod is trying to teach us, to tell us how is it that we are going to try to live out this call to holiness, that it’s not just one-on-one, but it’s a community,” she said.
“And that's what the Church should be. It should be that home of community where we come together and we journey and we grow and we love each other.”
Green said that in Australia they carried out a survey of 15,000 young people, and one issue identified by participants as important to their lives was mental illness. Green said she thinks the loss of community is one reason for the high rates of mental illness.
“To experience that community in our parishes through all of the various liturgical aspects and the social aspects is something that's really, really important.”
The seminar follows a conference in April which focused on World Youth Day, but also included two days of presentations and discussion on the preparatory document for the 2018 synod.
(Story continues below)
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According to an April 6 statement, Cardinal Baldisseri said it’s important to note that the upcoming synod is not being put on by young people or about them as subjects of study, but that it is for them, and that is why it is important they are included.
“A lot of young people, particularly in Australia, give up on the Church before even giving it a go, out of fear that they can't talk about the issues that are important to them. That they wouldn't feel welcomed in the Church,” Green said.
“So I really hope that from this synod, more young people do feel like they have a place in the Church and that they don't have to fit into a small box to feel like they're welcome here. And that's what Pope Francis has been emphasizing all along, that this synod isn't just for young Catholics…but that it's called a synod on youth and that it’s for everyone.”
Alexey Gotovsky contributed to this report.