At a Synod Listening Session For Young Adults: Common Ground and a Sense of Hope

“I went in with an ardent desire to say some things that have been in my heart for many years,” said Nora Zimmerman, who attended a recent Synod of Bishops listening session for young adults.

“I left overwhelmed with the very moving impression that I'm absolutely not alone in these thoughts about the current state of the Church, the sacred liturgy, and our response as Catholics to the disintegration and spiritual poverty of our times,” she said.

About 30 young adults attended the session at St. Elizabeth of Hungary parish in Whitehall. It was one of many listening sessions happening throughout the five-county Diocese as the faithful respond to Pope Francis’s request to hear from all Catholics around the world.

“So many of my peers in the session spoke as if they were speaking from my own heart,” Zimmerman said, “in particular about the necessity of reverence for the Real Presence of our Blessed Lord in the Eucharist. It felt like the Holy Spirit had brought us all together to speak of one mind and to connect with one another to drive these and other ideas forward.”

John Pellosie, another attendee at the session, said he too was struck by how many people had shared deeply felt points to make about the Catholic Church today.

“It was very encouraging to be with other young adults who care strongly about the future of our Church and want to share their experiences,” he said.

“It was beautiful to hear many talk about their desire for Catholic community,” said Annaleigh Gidosh, who as a Synod Ambassador helped organize the session. “These individuals wanted to find community within the Church, because it is in the Church that they have found their deepest identity.”

Two other Synod Ambassadors worked with Gidosh, who attends St. Stephen of Hungary parish, Allentown, and Queenship of Mary parish, Northampton, to organize the listening session: Tina Tran of St. Elizabeth parish, and Yami Ayala of St. Thomas More parish, Allentown.

They are among more than 200 Synod Ambassadors representing its parishes, schools, and ministries, helping to reach out to the faithful, as well as those who feel marginalized, disaffected, or distant from their faith or their relationship to the Church.

Other planned listening sessions for young adults will be held:

  • Jan. 20 at St. Patrick’s Church, Fourth and Mahantongo streets, Pottsville. There is Mass and Adoration in the Church beginning at 6 p.m., and the session begins at 7 p.m. in the meeting room.
  • Feb. 10 at Holy Ghost Church, Bethlehem, including adoration, with dinner provided, beginning at 7 p.m. RSVP to for an accurate count for food.

The goal of the Synod is to listen to all Catholics, wherever they find themselves in their faith journey or relationship to the Church, so that, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Church can discern the best ways of addressing challenges and working together on a path of healing and unity.

In addition to forwarding the feedback for eventual use at the Vatican meeting, the Diocese will use the input provided to help in meeting the spiritual and sacramental needs of Catholics here at home.

Many parish and diocesan listening sessions are scheduled. You also can provide your feedback through an on-line survey. For more details, visit the Synod website.


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