Young Adult Delegates Named for Pre-Synod Gathering in Rome; Synod will Focus on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment

January 25, 2018 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—Three young adult delegates were discerned bythe USCCB to represent the United States of America at the March 2018 Pre-SynodGathering in Rome. The United States will participate in a special Pre-SynodGathering in March 2018 in Rome, a milestone on the way to the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and VocationalDiscernment.

The young adults are:  

  • Br. Javier Hansen, FSC, originally from northern California,is a Brother of the Christian Schools in the Lasallian District of SanFrancisco-New Orleans, currently serving as a religion teacher atCathedral High School-El Paso, Texas.
  • Nick López, originally from San Antonio, currently serves as thedirector of campus ministry for the University of Dallas. He is also a guest columnist for theCatholic News Service column, InLight of Faith, focused on millennials.
  • Katie Prejean McGrady, of the Diocese of Lake Charles inLouisiana, is a wife, new mother, youth minister, and a popular speakerwho has been working with many youth and young adult communities acrossthe country.

This spring gathering, from March 19 to 25, 2018, has beenconvened by the Holy Father Pope Francis, along with the Office for the Synodof Bishops, as a way to listen directly to the voices of young adults aroundthe world in advance of the 2018 Ordinary Synod (which will take place inOctober 2018 at the Vatican). The Holy See has also received input on the Synodtopic through a questionnaire sent through episcopal conferences and movements,which was sent to Rome in October 2017, and an online survey for young peoplethat was open from June to December 2017.

These individuals were chosen by the USCCB because they haveboth local and national connections to the life of the Church. Not only are theyyoung adults, but they work with other young people, representing the culturaland vocational diversity of the Church in the U.S.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Chairman of the Committeeon Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M.Cap., Chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, commentedon the upcoming Pre-Synod Gathering in Rome, saying, "We are delighted that Br.Javier, Nick, and Katie have accepted the invitation to represent the youth andyoung adults of the United States at this important gathering in Rome. We hopethat all Catholics will join us in praying for them and for all the young delegatesfrom around the world, participating in the Pre-Synod Conference. Their comingtogether is a wonderful opportunity for the Church, to hear the perspective ofyoung people pertaining to the key themes which will be discussed in the 2018Synod of Bishops: Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment."

This will be the first time that Br. Javier Hansen will betraveling to Rome. "I believe I offer the perspective of many young religiousin this country and those who are currently discerning religious life," saysBr. Javier. "I not only will representthe people of my generation but also the young people I interact with every dayin the classroom."

Katie PrejeanMcGrady says it is a great privilege to attend the gathering. "It is easily oneof the greatest honors of my life," says Katie. "While there, I am greatlylooking forward to the chance to learn through dialogue and discussion, howother countries uniquely lead young people into an authentic and personalencounter with Jesus Christ, and to bring this information home to share withour bishops, priests, and lay men and women working in ministry."

Nick Lopezsays the gathering for him will also be an opportunity to present the needs ofhis American and Latino brothers and sisters, "In particular, I hope to be ableto offer some successes and viewpoints from my life as a minister, includinginterfaith relations, integrating popular culture effectively in ministry, andthe Latino/Hispanic American experience."

In addition to the in-person meeting of delegates, the HolySee will be inviting young people from around the world to participate in thePre-Synod Gathering digitally via social media. With this opportunity, moreyouth and young adult voices can contribute to the dialogue. Details on how youngpeople can engage the process in this manner will be available in the comingmonths.

The official Vatican website for the Synod, which isinclusive of this Pre-Synod Gathering, is links to the English language version). The official USCCB web page for the Synod is

Keywords: U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Pre-Synod gathering, Rome,Vatican, Holy See, Young People, Faith, Vocational Discernment, Cardinal JosephW. Tobin C.Ss.R., Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, CharlesJ. Chaput, OFM Cap., Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, Br.Javier Hansen, FSC, Katie Prejean McGrady, Nick López, youth, young adults


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Judy Keane