Tag Archives: Church

6 September: An historic consultation, unprecedented in the history of the Church

After a couple of months of bringing together the strands from different countries’ consultations, the synod office has published another newsletter based on a recent press conference. An English translation of the Italian speeches can be found by scrolling down the page. I seem to recall, at the start of this process, hoping for clear English … Will.

A historic consultation, unprecedented in the history of the Church
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“We are faced with an ecclesial dialogue without precedent in the history of the Church, not only for the quantity of responses received or the number of people involved (which to some who want to rely solely on numbers – which can only be approximate – may seem limited) but also for the quality of participation. The listening and discernment process was certainly not perfect. We know this, but we also know that we are trying to be more and more the image of the synodal Church, we are also learning from our mistakes’. This was stated by Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, General Rapporteur of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, at the press conference presenting the Second Stage of the synodal process: the Continental Stage.

In addition to the 103 responses from the Bishops’ Conferences (out of 114) so far received by the General Secretariat of the Synod and the thousand or so contributions from other ecclesiastical realities, the Oriental Catholic Churches, Religious Congregations and Vatican Dicasteries also sent a summary of the listening and discernment process carried out over the last few months.

For his part, Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod, thanking “the entire People of God” who took part in the synod process, addressed “you today and those following us from home with a sense of gratitude and much hope for the future of the Synod Church. Regardless of the contents that will emerge from the reading of the summaries, the experiences heard or lived show a Church that is alive, in need of authenticity, healing and that yearns more and more to be a community that celebrates and proclaims the joy of the Gospel, learning to walk and discern together”. The Cardinal’s speech then dwelt on the principle of circularity and restitution to the local Churches that characterises this synodal process.

Below is the list of people who spoke at the Press Conference and their contribution.

– Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the General Secretariat of the Synod

– Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, General Rapporteur of the XVI Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

– H.E. Msgr. Luis Marín de San Martín O.S.A, Undersecretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod

– Sr. Nathalie Becquart X.M.C.J, Under-Secretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod

– Father Giacomo Costa S.J., Consultor of the General Secretariat of the Synod and Head of the Task Force for the elaboration of the Document for the Continental Stage

– Susan Pascoe, Member of the Task Force for the Continental Stage and Member of the Methodology Commission (intervention by videoconference)

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15 July: The Synod and the People of God.

https://www.synod.va/en/highlights/People-of-God.html

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A posting from the Synod Office inviting us to reflect on belonging to the People of God.

We open with an extended thought from Pope Francis, and worth taking to heart, Synod or no Synod. But see the original post.

Christianity is not just an ethic. Yes, it is true, it has moral principles, but one is not Christian with only a vision of ethics. It is more. Christianity is not an elite of people chosen for truth. …Christianity is belonging to a people, a people chosen by God, freely. If we do not have this consciousness of belonging to a people, we will be ideological Christians, with a tiny doctrine for affirming the truth, with an ethic, with a moral code – that’s fine – or with an elite… If we do not have a consciousness of belonging to a people, we are not true Christians.

Pope Francis, Homily Being Christians means belonging to the People of God”, 07.05.2020

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Tel. (+39) 06 698 84821 / 84324

synodus@synod.va

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24 June: Pope Francis teaches about John the Baptist.

A second post about John the Baptist, whose feast we marked yesterday. This is from Pope Francis’s Audience, 13.12.2021.

Pope Francis reflected on John the Baptist responding to those asking how to change their lives for the better, since their hearts were touched by the Lord. It reflects an enthusiasm for the Lord’s coming and a desire to prepare themselves concretely for this joyous, life-changing experience. In the same way, we too should ask ourselves what we should do within our own lives, the Pope suggested, and reflect on what we are called to do and become.

The question of what we are to do reminds us that “life has a task for us”, the Pope said. It is not something left to chance, but rather, “It is a gift that the Lord grants us,” since He asks to discover ourselves and “to work hard to make the dream that is your life come true.” We all have a mission to accomplish, he explained, and we should not be afraid to ask the Lord this question often: What can we do for the Lord, and what can we for ourselves, our brothers and sisters and how can this be translated concretely into contributing to the good of the Church and society?

John the Baptist, in responding to those who ask him “what should we do?”, gives each person a very concrete reply to their life situation. And this offers a precious teaching, the Pope said, that “faith is incarnated in concrete life,” touching us personally and transforming our lives.

In conclusion, he encouraged everyone to think concretely about what we can do, small or big, in our own lives as we prepare for Christmas. This could mean visiting someone who is alone, helping the elderly or the ill, or serving the poor or someone in need. It may also mean asking for forgiveness for our mistakes, paying a debt, clarifying a misunderstanding, or praying more. We can all find something concrete to do, the Pope emphasised, adding, “May the Blessed Mother help us!”

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28 May: The Church is your home: The contribution of people with disabilities to the Synod.

The Church still has a way to go to truly and fully include disabled people. But the Synod intends to hear what they have to say. Let’s hope it results in more than pious aspirations.

General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops

The Church is your home
The contribution of people with disabilities to the Synod on Synodality 19 May 2022 
 
An online listening session, lasting about two hours, was held yesterday afternoon on the theme “The Church is your home. The contribution of people with disabilities to the Synod on Synodality” promoted by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.
 
The session, attended by representatives of bishops’ conferences and international associations, aimed to “give voice” directly to people with disabilities, faithful who are often on the margins of our Churches. Although many of them have already been involved in the meetings promoted by parishes, dioceses and associations, the meeting was in fact the launch of a true international synodal process dedicated to them.
 
In a dynamic of dialogue, approximately 30 participants with sensory, physical or cognitive disabilities – connected from more than 20 countries around the world – were able to express themselves in their own languages (including three sign languages) in sight of the joint drafting of a document to answer the synod’s fundamental question: How are we walking with Jesus and our brothers and sisters to proclaim Him? For the future, what is the Spirit asking our Church to grow in our journey with Jesus and with our brothers and sisters to proclaim Him?

Four moving testimonies from Liberia, Ukraine, France and Mexico drew attention about the need to overcome discrimination, exclusion and paternalism. Very touching were the words of a French catechist with Down syndrome: ‘At birth, I could have been aborted. I am happy to live,’ she said, ‘I love everyone and I thank God for creating me”. Consecrated, she received a double mandate from her bishop: prayer and evangelisation. 
 
At the opening, Card. Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, shared his personal experience: ‘I’m in debt to people with disabilities. One of them lead me to path priestly vocation. If the face of the disabled brother or sister is discarded, it is the Church that becomes disabled’.
 
The Secretary of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, Fr. Alexandre Awi Mello, told the participants that in the synodal process the challenge is to “overcome every prejudice of those who believe that those who have difficulty expressing themselves doesn’t have a thought of their own, nor anything interesting to communicate”.
 
In closing, Sr. Nathalie Becquart, Undersecretary of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, proposed that participants observe a moment of silence, to “hear,” she said, “how the Holy Spirit has spoken to each one. There are treasures of humanity that have been shared and are offered to the Church”.
 
The participants were invited to elaborate in the coming months a common document based on their experiences and knowledge of the world of disability that they have gained first-hand and through their pastoral commitment. The document will then be delivered to the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops to be considered in the continuation of the synodal path.
 
 
The meeting is part of a path started in December 2021 by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life with the video campaign #IamChurch, on the ecclesial protagonism of people with disabilities and desires to be a response to the appeal of the Pope in Fratelli Tutti (n.98) when he invites communities to “give voice” to those “hidden exiles” …who feel they exist without belonging and without participating”. “The goal,” the Holy Father continues, “is not just assistance, but ‘active participation in the civil and ecclesial community.
The process will be concluded in the coming months with a presential meeting in Rome.
 
 
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Photos of the meeting are available through this link: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjzQCVg.
 
Press contacts
 
Pamela Fabiano
Communication and Press Office
Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life
p.fabiano@laityfamilylife.va
mobile: +39.3394034163
 
Thierry Bonaventura
Communication Manager
General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops
media@synod.va
mobile; +39351 9348474
 Copyright © 2022 General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops, All rights reserved.

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23 May, Synod Newsletter: Mary, and the Synod way

This edition of the synod newsletter highlights Mary, Mother of the Lord, as an example of someone with a synodal attitude. She accompanied Jesus all the way to the Cross; she was part of the decision-making of the early Church, and lived with the Beloved Disciple as his mother, bequeathed by Jesus. There are stories from around the world. Follow this link.


Good morning, everyone. Here we are again with a new edition of our Newsletter.
Listening and discernment are perhaps the two words that have been most used in this first phase of the synod process. But how does one listen and discern correctly?  I believe that a model and a true method is given to us by the One whom we want to celebrate in this Newsletter: Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church; Mary, Via Synodalis
READ THE FULL EDITORIAL
Mary,Via synodalis

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27 April: Tea’s company


Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
  Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
  And while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
  Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
  That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
  So let us welcome peaceful evening in.

These lines by William Cowper are taken from his long poem ‘The Task’, written in response to a challenge from his friend Lady Ann Austen. Many readers will recognise ‘the cups that cheer but not inebriate’ but perhaps, like me, did not know the source.

I’d like to put alongside Cowper’s image the photo on this book cover.

Jésus, l'homme de la rencontre

Bishop Claude Rault was a teacher of mine before he became Bishop of the Sahara, at least the part of it in the great empty quarter of Algeria. His book has been my Lenten reading this year, but what I want to share today is from the introduction by Fr Christophe Roucou, himself a missionary in North Africa.

Roucou explains why Bishop Rault chose this picture for his cover. It shows

“a teapot in the embers of a living fire, ready to make tea that will be drunk and shared in this corner of the desert between friends, or offered to the passer-by in token of welcome and hospitality.

“The tea of meeting!”

The word ‘meeting’ is hardly adequate as a translation of rencontre; ‘encounter’ does not, for me at least, convey the warmth and welcome implied in ‘rencontre’. Claude’s book is a commentary on the meetings Jesus had with people, as described in Saint John’s Gospel; and we know how deeply he welcomed all manner of people. A review will follow.

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Synod Newsletter, 23 April 2022

This week’s message from the synod office looks at what is happening in schools and colleges around the world. We highlight one example below, but you can find more by following the link above.



As part of the local synodal process, the Diocese of Palmerston North in New Zealand has developed a series of resources for school communities. The coordination group welcomes the participation of children and young people.
 
READ MORE

Prayer for the meeting of the synod’s commissions in Rome

Let us keep in mind in our personal and community prayer 
next week's meeting of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops 
with the members of the four synod’s commissions in Rome.

Enlighten, O Lord, the hearts of the participants,
who represent the diversity and richness of the Church.
Dispose their minds to listen to the Spirit of truth
so that their work and their reflections may best
serve Your Church. 
Let them discover how to transmit
in the best way the experience of being a listening Church
and promote the participation of God's people.
On this journey, to which we are all called
to be enthused by the fire of the Spirit
that gives the necessary gifts at the right time,
we want to open ourselves, together with Mary
to the newness of a life of faith
which is built in communion
on the paths of love and hope.
AMEN

https://mailchi.mp/synod/newsletter112022_en?e=9c8f6d48c5

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21 April: Safe.

2009-05-04 20.01.43 (800x532)

We don’t tend to recycle old posts but this one, from January six years ago, follows well yesterday’s reflection by Emily Dickinson on the forgotten grave. Mary Webb looked forward to her own grave as a haven from the sufferings of this life, especially from the unkindness of other people. Her face was disfigured by Graves’ Disease which can now be successfully treated and she was sensitive about this.

We began the post with another woman’s death and burial.

We buried our friend Mrs O a few days ago. She had a good send-off, the church comfortably full. I was comforted an hour earlier, to see a rainbow, arched over her house as the rain drifted away into the North Sea. A promise that she will not perish! And the thrush and blackbird were singing.

But here is Mary Webb, feeling downhearted as she writes. May she rest in peace and rise in glory!

‘Safe’ by Mary Webb.

Under a blossoming tree
Let me lie down,
With one blackbird to sing to me
In the evenings brown.
Safe from the world’s long importunity –
The endless talk, the critical, sly stare,
The trifling social days – and unaware
Of all the bitter thoughts they have of me,
Low in the grass, deep in the daisies,
I shall sleep sound, safe from their blames and praises.

That is one of Mrs Turnstone’s favourite poems.

https://wordpress.com/post/willturnstone.wordpress.com/832

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4.4.22: The Synod is based on Scripture.

The latest circular from the Synod Office looks at the Biblical sources of the Synod. Read the whole document here. See the opening paragraphs below. (Did I once express the hope that there would not be too much technical language or long sentences? Perhaps I was dreaming.) One article which is more accessible comes from Burkina Faso, where they have great problems in getting together because of terrorist attacks.
How are you? We come with new information and a theme that is inspiring and fundamental: The Word of God in the synodal journey. We are in a process of listening, in which we must be attentive to the Word like Mary. This Word will encourage and guide us in our journey as a pilgrim Church.
Synodality and the Word of God

The Biblical Subgroup of the Spirituality Commission of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops has prepared a resource entitled “Biblical Resources for Synodality,” which highlights how Scripture is at the heart of the synodal journey.
GO TO THE DOCUMENT

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29 March: Avoiding bitterness

Reverend Robert Walker skating

An excuse for revisiting Raeburn’s portrait of his friend Robert Walker, is this quotation from one of his sermons.

Too many of those who make a profession of religion … indulge themselves in a bitter, censorious disputation, more allied to peevishness than either to virtue or religion … their conversation is gloomy, their countenances and manners forbidding. From such unfortunate examples, it is too often rashly concluded, that the nature of religion itself is harsh, melancholy and severe.*

These days we have perhaps lost much of the gloominess, though covid and climate change do tempt some to adopt that attitude. What seems to persist is the censorious disputation which can become bitter. Let us pray for the grace to see ourselves as we are in relation to others, and to step back from disputation that divides and brings the Church into disrepute.

Perhaps each one of us needs time to be alone with God and nature as Robert is here. Not much skating this winter in Kent, but walking is always available, free of charge, to set the spirit free.

*See The Skating Minister, by Duncan Thomson and Lynne Gladstone-Millar, Edinburgh 2004, p33.

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