Youngest Synod Members Transformed by Experience

Cardinal Says They Positively Marked Assembly

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By Jesús Colina



VATICAN CITY, OCT. 28, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The two youngest participants at the synod of bishops say they were transformed by the assembly. But a cardinal says the young adults' participation in the synod also marked the bishops' reflections.

Twenty-five-year-old Silvia Sanchini, national president of the Federation of Italian Catholic Universities (FUCI) and 28-year-old Daniele Boscaro, clan leader for the Association of Italian Catholic Guides and Scouts of Padua, were chosen by Benedict XVI to participate in the synod.

Sanchini told ZENIT she was surprised by the Pope's decision to make her a participant in the Oct. 5-26 assembly. "Such a young person! In fact, FUCI had never been invited. This was a novelty -- a beautiful novelty," she said.

Asked about her experience during three weeks of considering the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church, she said, "For me, it has been very important to have an overview of the universal Church, since this enriches Italy."

"The problems that many faithful of the world have, who can't read the Bible, for us it seems something non-existent," Sanchini continued. "We have the possibilities but we don't take advantage of them."

Boscaro also expressed enthusiasm about his participation in the synod. He mentioned how the Pope would take advantage of breaks to greet the participants.

"The Pope has given me more time than the bishops," he said with a smile. "He introduced me to Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian episcopal conference, who had participated in the Scouts, and the Pope told us, 'Thank you for all you do as Scouts.'"

In Italy, Boscaro explained, for 50 years the Scouts have been organizing camps for educators on the Word of God "so they become people who proclaim the living Word, not a dead letter."

Both Sanchini and Boscaro gave a voice to youth during the synod, dedicating their respective interventions to the theme of young people.

Sanchini urged the synod fathers to make "serious and qualified proposals to favor the encounter of young people with the Word."

She particularly encouraged the promotion of lectio divina, as a method of personal and community prayer. She also recommended "day- or week-long Bible study events directed to youth, preferably in collaboration with monastic communities."

For his part, Boscaro expressed his hope that the synod would serve to awaken the laypeople, the "sleeping giant" of the Church.

Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, told ZENIT that the interventions from Sanchini and Boscaro helped the synod fathers stay mindful of the youth.

In particular, he said, during the working groups and informal conversations, the synod fathers have reflected on how to comply with the suggestion from Sanchini to promote "lectio divina" groups among the youth, particularly among university students.