The Holy Father Francis has called the entire Catholic Church to journey together in Synod. The convocation is entitled: "For a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission". The preposition "For", "For a Church..." indicates the direction to be taken or the goal to be reached: in this case, the direction and the goal that the whole Church wants to take and where she wants to go and reach.
The synodal journey is the path that God expects from the Church of the third millennium, said Pope Francis. It began solemnly in Rome on October 9-10 and on Sunday, October 17 in our Metropolitan Cathedral. The Holy Father is reminding us that to walk this path together we should allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit, open with humility and availability to his action in us, entering with audacity and freedom of heart into a process of conversion without which that "perennial reform of which the Church herself, as a human and earthly institution, is always in need" (UR, 6) is not possible.
The Church from her origins is synodal. As St. John Chrysostom wrote in the fourth century: "Church and Synod are synonymous". This strong affirmation of this Father of the Church means that the Church is constitutively synodal. It is the specific way of living and acting of the Church as a People called by God that manifests, concretely, its being "communion" and its being "participation" of all its members in the mission of evangelization. It is in the profound bond between the "sensus fidei" (the sense of faith) of the People of God and the Magisterium of the Pastors that the unanimous consensus of the whole Church in the same faith and in the same mission is realized.
With these brief words I intend only to encourage you to participate, in the way that each one of you can, especially at the parish level, in this journey together during the diocesan phase of the Synod. My concern as Bishop is that this convocation reaches the greatest possible number of the baptized and that the orderly development of the synodal journey be carried out in accordance with the words of St. Paul to the faithful of Thessalonica: "Do not quench the work of the Spirit; do not despise the prophecies; test everything and hold fast what is good" (1 Thess 5:19).
Don't forget that your voice is important. Your listening is also important. Your living the ecclesial communion, your participation will help the mission of the whole Church at the beginning of the third millennium of the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us walk together in the name of the Lord!
Archbishop of the Diocese of Mérida Badajoz