Stress is being cited as a big challenge in young people’s lives, according to early indications from a survey of New Zealand young people carried out for New Zealand’s Catholic bishops.

The VoicetoVatican survey for young New Zealanders aged 16-29, which ran from July 23 until August 28, received almost 2000 responses from throughout the country.

The survey will contribute to a worldwide initiative by Pope Francis to better understand the lives, attitudes and concerns of young people throughout the world, in the lead up to the synod on young people, faith and vocational discernment in Rome, in October next year.

Young people were invited to answer questions and give their opinions about the Church, challenges and opportunities in their lives and thoughts on vocation.

Results from the New Zealand survey will now be analysed and sent to Rome in a report due by the end of October, a New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference spokesperson said.

Just two weeks into the survey, a “snapshot” of responses was taken, indicating certain trends.

The majority of young people spoken to by the bishops’ conference indicated education is considered one of the greatest opportunities in life. Self-expression is also considered to be important.

Another trend in the “snapshot” was that “stress is cited significantly more as one of the biggest challenges in young people’s lives”.

Also, “when it comes to helping shape and support young people, family is the biggest influence, before community, friends and educators”.

Speaking about the number of responses, Hamilton Bishop Stephen Lowe said this “reflects a real enthusiasm to be part of an international conversation with the Catholic Church and for the voice of young people in general, not just from within the Church, to be heard”.

More than 250 people responded to a separate youth leaders survey, the results of which will also be shared with Rome.

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