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 by the USCCB to represent the United States of America at the March 2018 Pre-Synod Gathering in Rome. The United States will participate in a special Pre-Synod Gathering in March 2018 in Rome, a milestone on the way to the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.

The young adults are:  

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

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

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

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Chairman of the Committee on 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, commented on 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 and young adults of the United States at this important gathering in Rome. We hope that all Catholics will join us in praying for them and for all the young delegates from around the world, participating in the Pre-Synod Conference. Their coming together is a wonderful opportunity for the Church, to hear the perspective of young 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 religious in this country and those who are currently discerning religious life," says Br. Javier. "I not only will represent the people of my generation but also the young people I interact with every day in the classroom."

Katie Prejean McGrady says it is a great privilege to attend the gathering. "It is easily one of the greatest honors of my life," says Katie. "While there, I am greatly looking forward to the chance to learn through dialogue and discussion, how other countries uniquely lead young people into an authentic and personal encounter with Jesus Christ, and to bring this information home to share with our bishops, priests, and lay men and women working in ministry."

Nick Lopez says the gathering for him will also be an opportunity to present the needs of his American and Latino brothers and sisters, "In particular, I hope to be able to offer some successes and viewpoints from my life as a minister, including interfaith relations, integrating popular culture effectively in ministry, and the Latino/Hispanic American experience."

In addition to the in-person meeting of delegates, the Holy See will be inviting young people from around the world to participate in the Pre-Synod Gathering digitally via social media. With this opportunity, more youth and young adult voices can contribute to the dialogue. Details on how young people can engage the process in this manner will be available in the coming months.

The official Vatican website for the Synod, which is inclusive of this Pre-Synod Gathering, is (this 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 Joseph W. Tobin C.Ss.R., Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, Br. Javier Hansen, FSC, Katie Prejean McGrady, Nick López, youth, young adults


Media Contact:
Judy Keane