|General Secretariat of the Synod|
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#newsletter n.21 – 01/2023 – Available also in FR – PT – ES – ITShareTweetForwardShare
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ
Happy 2023! We resume our journey with our regular newsletters. 2023 will be a rich and particularly important year for the synodal conversion of the Church. Next October will see the first session of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (4-29 October 2023). In this Sunday’s Angelus, Pope Francis wished to remind us of the eminently spiritual character of this assembly, announcing the Ecumenical Prayer Vigil in which he invites each of us to join. Indeed, as we prepare to celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on the theme “Learn to do good, seek justice”, (Isaiah 1:17), the Holy Father reminds us that “The path of synodality … is and must be ecumenical, just as the ecumenical path is synodal” (Audience to His Holiness Mar Awa III, 19.11.2022).
But let us not be too hasty. In this second stage of the synodal process – the Continental Stage concerning the dialogue between the Churches of the same region, we are all called to continue the exercise of listening and discernment with the help of the Working Document for the Continental Stage, which you can find in several languages on our website synod.va
By the way, to keep you updated on the Continental Assemblies, I invite you to visit our websites synod.va and synodresources.org periodically. Some journalists from Vatican Media are preparing to cover and inform you about these meetings. You can also follow them through vaticannews.va
But that is not all. There are a number of initiatives underway aimed at your formation such as the Sophia University Institute course and the Mooc organised by a number of theologians from the Theology Commission of the General Secretariat of the Synod, or even a Press Conference to learn a little more about the synod process in Africa, next 17 January.
However, the New Year opened with the sad news of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who was also the former President of the General Secretariat of the Synod, and who, as a theologian, had also addressed the topic of Synodality. We would like to remember this man of God with the homily at the Mass in suffrage that Cardinal Grech addressed to the faithful gathered in Gozo Cathedral.
I’m getting too long…. I leave it to you to discover the rest.
Enjoy the reading
SAVE THE DATES
The synodal process in Africa
On Tuesday 17 January 2023 at 12 noon in Rome (GMT +1) there will be a press conference to present the synodal process in Africa during which some of the general secretaries of the sub-regional Episcopal bodies of the Continent will speak. It will be possible to follow the press conference on the Synod’s Facebook channel (facebook.com/synod.va).
To access the press conference, journalists must….Read more here
Training Course on SynodalityOn 17 January at 6 p.m. Rome time (GTM +1) with addresses by Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod, and Monsignor Piero Coda, Secretary General of the International Theological Commission, the multilingual Formation Course on Synodality promoted by the Sophia University Institute – Evangelii Gaudium Centre will be opened…
Read more here
New Intensive Course (MOOC) on Synodality
Following the success of the previous edition that was attended by no less than 90,000 people, this second intercontinental online course will focus on the history, theology and practice of synodality.
The MOOC, which is completely free of charge, will take place online starting in February with lectures available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and German.Read more here
Ecumenical Vigil Prayer
In this Sunday’s after Angelus and on the eve of the celebration of the traditional Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Francis recalled how “the path to Christian unity and the Church’s path of synodal conversion are linked”.
To underline this close link, the announcement of an Ecumenical Prayer Vigil, next 30 September in St. Peter’s Square to which he invites “brothers and sisters of all Christian denominations” and with which “we will entrust to God the work of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops”.
To the young people who will come to Rome to participate in the ecumenical vigil Prayer, the Pope announced that there will be “a special programme throughout that weekend organized by the Taizé community”.Read more
In his homily at the Mass in suffrage of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod, dwells on the figure of this giant of the faith in constant search of Truth.Go to the Homily
World Women’s Observatory launches a survey
The World Women’s Observatory (WWO), a project of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations (WUCWO), has created a survey for women in positions of leadership in the 2021-2024 Synod. The survey is in response to concerns regarding the role of women in the Church expressed in the WDCS (Working Document for the Continental Stage).
The survey is anonymous, very brief and in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Arabic. The first deadline for the Survey is February 1, 2023
Read more here
Pray for the Synod
In order to support the synodal journey and ask for the Spirit’s assistance, together with the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network and UISG, we have set up a website in 5 languages: Church on the Way. Pray for the Synod. You too can send your prayer. See how to do it…
Tag Archives: Pope Francis
For any reader who wishes to follow the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, please use the link below. It will give you a leaflet in Latin, Italian and English.
These are the prayers of Final Commendation and Farewell after Communion, to be followed by a moment for silent prayer:
Dear brothers and sisters, in celebrating the sacred mysteries we have opened our minds and hearts to joy-filled hope; with confidence we now offer our final farewell to Pope Emeritus Benedict and commend him to God, our merciful and loving Father.
May the God of our fathers, through Jesus Christ, his only Son, in the Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life, deliver Pope Emeritus Benedict from death, that he may sing God’s praises in the heavenly Jerusalem in expectation of the resurrection of his mortal body on the last day.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles and Salus Populi Romani, intercede before the Eternal Father, that he may reveal the face of Jesus his Son to Pope Emeritus Benedict and console the Church on her pilgrimage through history as she awaits the Lord’s return.
After Pope Francis incenses the mortal remains of Benedict XVI, the pope will pray in Latin:
Gracious Father, we commend to your mercy Pope Emeritus Benedict whom you made Successor of Peter and shepherd of the Church, a fearless preacher of your word and a faithful minister of the divine mysteries.
Welcome him, we pray, into your heavenly dwelling place, to enjoy eternal glory with all your chosen ones. We give you thanks, Lord, for all the blessings that in your goodness you bestowed upon him for the good of your people.
Grant us the comfort of faith and the strength of hope.
To you Father, source of life, through Christ, the conqueror of death, in the life-giving Spirit, be all honor and glory forever and ever.
The choir and the congregation will sing the following Antiphons:
May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs come and welcome you and take you to the holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem.
May choirs of angels welcome you and with Lazarus, who is poor no longer may you have eternal rest.
As Benedict XVI’s coffin is carried to his place of burial in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica, the choir will sing the Magnificat in Latin.
Pope Francis has asked for special prayers for Pope Emeritus Benedict. He is 95 years old and suffering other symptoms.
This photo shows Benedict presiding at a Christmas meal for poor people and their supporters. Before this there was a protocol that the Pope never ate in public let alone with poor people. This excused a Pope from state banquets but other faithful were not deemed worthy to share a meal with him. No longer so, thanks to Pope Benedict.
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|Buon Natale! Merry Christmas! ¡Feliz Navidad! |
Joyeux Noël ! Feliz Natal!
« …Christmas reminds us that a faith that does not trouble us is a troubled faith.
A faith that does not make us grow is a faith that needs to grow.
A faith that does not raise questions is a faith that has to be questioned.
A faith that does not rouse us is a faith that needs to be roused.
A faith that does not shake us is a faith that needs to be shaken.
Indeed, a faith which is only intellectual or lukewarm is only a notion of faith.
It can become real once it touches our heart, our soul, our spirit and our whole being.
Once it allows God to be born and reborn in the manger of our heart.
Once we let the star of Bethlehem guide us to the place where the Son of God lies,
not among Kings and riches, but among the poor and humble. ».
(Pope Francis, Address to the Roman Curia 2017)
We pray that volunteer non-profit organisations
committed to human development
find people dedicated to the common good
and ceaselessly seek out new paths to international cooperation.
Finding people dedicated to the common good has been difficult when covid got in the way of daily life. In L’Arche UK there was much less international cooperation in the form of young assistants coming from overseas for a year or so. But there was also a mass of protective legislation that severely restricted community life for many months. Imagine assistants having to wear masks all day, unable to eat together with core members, friends from different houses being barred from meeting in person.
Pope Francis’s intention was written more than a year ago; things have changed in that time! We in L’Arche should pray in thanks for all the imaginative ways in which people held the community together, and for the opening up that is now happening, including individual and house holidays.
Let us pray that all the people dedicated to the common good, many of them exhausted, may now have space to pause for a while on holiday or retreat.
|General Secretariat for the Synod|
www.synod.va – media@synod.
NEWS RELEASE – 29.11.2022/ FRA – ITA –
Doing Synod is doing evangelisation
Meeting with the Presidents and Coordinators of the Continental Assemblies of the Synod.Vatican City, 28-29 November 2022
The meeting of the Presidents and Coordinators of the Continental Assemblies gathered in Rome on 28-29 November to prepare together the Continental Assemblies, which are the culminating moment of the second stage of the Synod process 2021-2024, concludes this morning. The meeting took place at the offices of the General Secretariat of the Synod.
“I feel gratitude and wonder. I have heard the testimony of a living Church!” was what Cardinal Mario Grech expressed at the end of the meeting, “The sharing of these days shows that the journey is already well underway and that we have much to learn from each other. I have great hope for our task, which is and remains first and foremost evangelisation: the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ. This is the synodal path. In this journey we must not be afraid of tensions, which can also be healthy. We must not exclude anyone and listen to everyone! Even those outside the Church’s formal enclosure, because sometimes the Church is present where we did not think we would find it’.
On the afternoon of Monday 28 November 2022, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the participants. After the initial greeting by Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg and General Rapporteur of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the Presidents or Coordinators of the Continental Assemblies presented the fruits of the process underway in their respective continents or regions, followed by a time of dialogue. The meeting, held in an atmosphere of great fraternity, lasted two hours.
Below is Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich’s address of greeting.
Your Holiness, thank you for taking the time to receive us and to give us your advice for the synodal process.
With the continental phase of the process we begin our missionary discernment. With this stage of the Synod we are, in fact, already experiencing a first universal dimension of the process. This stage says, in fact, that the different Churches must not be isolated in their journey and the circular dialogue of the continental assemblies will benefit the Churches of all continents.
Your Holiness, a synodality that wants to be Catholic needs the care and advice of Peter. We need you, because we need a healthy indifference that bears witness to freedom in the Spirit, but then because we also notice some temptations on this road.
And I would like to talk about a temptation we sometimes see in the media: it is the temptation of ‘politicisation’ in and of the Church, that is, living and thinking the Church with the logic of politics. Some have an agenda for the reform of the Church; they know very well what needs to be done and they want to use the synod for that purpose: this is instrumentalising the synod. This is politicising. On the opposite side are – to borrow your word – the ‘indietrists’ who do not understand that a true Catholic tradition evolves while remaining a tradition in its time. They too would like to put the brakes on the synod process. We, on the other hand – and we heard this morning in our work – we want to be able to enter into a true discernment, an apostolic, missionary discernment, so that the synodal Church can carry out its mission in the world. We want to walk together, with you and above all with the Holy Spirit and with Jesus, in order to mend our Church.
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Pope Francis invites us this month to pray for children:
We pray for children who are suffering, especially those who are homeless, orphans, and victims of war; may they be guaranteed access to education and the opportunity to experience family affection.
After years of working with distressed children I could add to Pope Francis’s list: children who are abused or neglected, living with their parents’ addictions, excluded from school for the safety of others, mentally ill, depressed, or simply poor. Here is a prayer we might use or adapt to join the Pope’s invitation.
Prayer for Healing and Reconciliation
Praise to you Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
the source of all consolation and hope.
Be the refuge and guardian of all
who suffer from abuse and violence.
Comfort them and send healing
for their wounds of the body, soul and spirit.
Help us all and make us one with you
in your love for justice
as we deepen our respect for the dignity of every human life.
Giver of peace, make us one in celebrating
your praise, both now and forever.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Prayer from the diocese of Northampton.
Another newsletter from the Synod Office, telling where they have reached in their work.
|Good morning everyone!|
This month of October has been full of surprises. We began with the private audience that Pope Francis granted to the group of experts – mostly members of our commissions – who had gathered in Frascati to discern and draft the Document for the Continental Stage. A simple and very fraternal moment that many of those present will certainly remember.
On 3 October, the Holy Father gave us a second gift through the Pope’s World Prayer Network and Click to Pray, which published his prayer intention for the month of 0ctober: ‘We pray that the Church, ever faithful to, and courageous in preaching the Gospel, may the Church be a community of solidarity, fraternity and welcome, always living in an atmosphere solidarity’.
Then, we recalled the 60th Anniversary of the Opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, on 11 October: this important event in the life of the Church which is at the origin not only the birth of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, but also in a certain sense of this synodal process itself.
And the surprises did not end there. Indeed, we recall how on 16 October, at the end of the Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis announced that the 16th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will take place in two sessions: the first from 4 to 29 October 2023; the second in October 2024. This extension of the synodal journey is meant to be an opportunity – as Pope Francis said – “to foster an understanding of synodality as a constitutive dimension of the Church, and to help everyone to live it in a journey of brothers and sisters who bear witness to the joy of the Gospel”.
Let us therefore take advantage of this to continue our synodal conversion and put into practice what we can do, as of now, to make ecclesial communities more and more synodal.
Finally, the month will end with the long-awaited publication of the Document for the Continental Stage, which will be presented to the media at the Holy See Press Office on 27 October at 12.15 p.m. (Rome time).
As you will see, there has been no lack of work, and so we have been a little delayed with the inclusion of the resources you have sent us, as well as in reporting on them. Please do not desist and continue to send us what you are carrying out within the framework of the synodal path.
I wish you good reading.
|What is the Continental Stage?|
|Here is an infographic to explain what the Continental Stage is. Associated with it, we remind you that the FAQ is also available. FAQ and infographic are available in 5 languages.|
|Message from the General Secretariat of the Synod on the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, 11 October 1962.|
The Synod of Bishops was instituted by St. Paul VI at the beginning of the fourth and final period of the Council (Sept. 15, 1965), responding to requests made by many council fathers.
The purpose of the Synod is to prolong, in the life and mission of the Church, the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, which represented “the great grace from which the Church has benefited in the 20th century” (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte, Jan. 6, 2001, 57). This task is an ongoing process; in some respects it is still in its infancy.
Pope Francis’s intention for this month is:
We pray that the death penalty, which attacks the dignity of the human person, may be legally abolished in every country.
Jesus was crucified between two thieves. These willow crosses were used to make Easter Gardens for Saint Mildred’s church in Canterbury and for our community houses, but they do not convey the torturous death of crucifixion. The ivory figures on the crosses in Winchester Cathedral express the attack on the dignity of the three condemned men, each one unable to lift a finger to ease his suffering. The only way to alleviate the pain is for the overseeing centurion to intervene with a leg-breaking, death-dealing blow.
When today someone is killed by firing squad, hanging, electric shock or lethal drugs, there is not the three hours’ agony endured by Jesus, but there is a lifetime of sorrow for the criminal’s relatives, while ‘closure’ for the victim’s family may still be elusive. It is well-known that the greater number of violent offenders have experienced violence themselves; are their lives to be terminated in violence?
We could add to Pope Francis’s intention a prayer for the children who are subjected to violence, that through the love, care and respect of adults who work with them, they may come to live in peace with themselves, with other people and with God.
And let us remember Jesus’ promise to the repentant thief: this day you will be with me in Paradise.