Praying for the Synod and discerning God's action in the Church

On October 9 and 10, the Ordinary Synod of Bishops will begin, which will last two years, until October 2023, and will include the first "mother synod" since this type of assembly was established, Nathalie Becquart. The preparatory document and the vademecum are expected to be published in the coming weeks.

Giovanni Tridente-September 3, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes
first mother synod

Photo: Nathalie Becquart is undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops. ©2021 Catholic News Service / U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In these weeks, the preparatory document and the vademecum for the next Ordinary Synod of Bishops, which will last two years, until October 2023, are expected. The opening celebration, as will be recalled, is scheduled in Rome, with the presence of Pope Francis, on October 9 and 10, while the following week it will be repeated in all the dioceses of the world.

There will be three preparatory commissions (theological, methodological and consultative) composed of a total of forty-one experts, ten of whom are women, including Sister Nathalie Becquart, undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops and the first "synod mother" since this type of assembly was established.

In previous days, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Mario Grech, sent a heartfelt letter to monastic communities around the world, asking them to pray that the synodal journey maintain its own "spiritual dimension", so as to "know how to discern God's action in the life of the universal Church and of each of the particular Churches".

"Prayer opens hearts. It opens the ear to a listening that is more than hearing and makes us attentive to the action of the Spirit in our lives. There is no true discernment without prayer," the Cardinal explained.

The Undersecretary of the Synod and Coordinator of the Theological Commission, Luis Marín de San Martín, also spoke of "unity, ecclesiology of communion and space for discernment", presenting some keys to better understand the synodal process that will be inaugurated in October 2021.

Among them, the fact that it is not "an event, but a process: the act of walking together". That is what Synod means". And to walk this path "we need not only a change of mentality, but a change of heart", in other words "a conversion".

The other undersecretary, Becquart, also emphasized on several occasions the aspect of spirituality as an essential element of synodality: it is not possible to "walk with Christ" without listening to the Holy Spirit.

In this sense, the numerous ecclesial and lay movements also play an important role: "throughout history, the action of the Holy Spirit has been creative and the Church is rich in a great diversity of experiences, of communities, some of them centuries old", he stressed. For this reason, all these experiences of life and apostolate will be involved in the synodal process in the phase in which the consultation concerns the Episcopal Conferences and the Dioceses.

The video of Pope Francis' prayer intention for the month of August, launched by the World Network of the same name, was dedicated to "the Church on the Way". Francis recalls that the Church's "proper vocation is to evangelize" and that "we can only renew the Church by discerning God's will in our daily lives." "And by undertaking a transformation guided by the Holy Spirit."

Themes, as we can see, all of them related to the process that will be undertaken in the coming months and that will involve all ecclesial realities, from the base to the top, in order to concretize communion, participation and mission, as the motto of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops states. Happy journey to the whole Church.

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