XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (first sessión)

on 10 Oct, 2023
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Rome (Italy), 10/10/2023, Sr. Rosmery Castañeda, member of the Synod.-Good morning! Today is the first Sunday at the Synodal Assembly and in the Paul VI Hall in Rome. With the Word of God, I would like to express in a few lines what the first eight days of the Synod were like. By the Mercy of God, I can say that these days are wonderful, the meetings that we are experiencing in Church, “the Vine that He planted”.

Pope Francis opened the synod with an ecumenical prayer in St. Peter's Square, including the liturgy was led by the brothers of Taizé... There, the Holy Father and the Synodal Assembly and all those who accompany us, we prayed for the strength and Light of the Holy Spirit, that is to say say, He who opens, directs and guides this synodal path. Once we left such a beautiful ecumenical prayer, we headed to the Fraterna Domus retreat house, there there were three days of silence, prayer, reflection, led by Brother Timothy Radcliffe, O.P. Excellent preacher who with the same Gospel led us to the Experience of Tabor, because that is how it should be, this synodal Path: “Be with Jesus, pray with Jesus, listen to Jesus” because only from Jesus, we take the path to Jerusalem, even if we often do not understand it, as happened to his disciples and to Jerusalem in the paschal experience. In addition, there was Sr. María Gracia Angelini, O.S.B. who offered us these spiritual touches to celebrate the divine liturgy in depth.

From October 4 to 7 were days of study, reflection and “discernment” of the Module A. of the Instrumentum Laboris, which took us every day from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the rhythm of conversation in the Spirit, which is the method chosen for this Synod. This method has favored the circulation of speech, listening to the Spirit, and being able to benefit from the fraternal encounter that takes place in the working groups... “there are moments of deep silence” in which we feel thrilling the voices of those we have carried, because we have listened to our people. We all say: “We are learning to be silent to listen to me and to each other, we are learning to discern to see what the Spirit is telling us.”

The presence of Pope Francis as an additional baptized among us is truly a “challenge”, he is a synodal man: his simplicity, his humility, his welcome to everyone present, his joyful style in moments of rest, the desire to learn the names of those to whom we are close, even while eating a cookie. This shows how human he is. He asks to speak, like any of us, he waits his turn, while respecting the three minutes given to each participant.

Distinctive signs of a synodal Church which emerge in this synodal journey

The joy of meeting, Openness to listening, Welcome as a sign and instrument of social inclusion, the value of baptism which makes us a people of God. Recognize and value the vocation of the other in their charisms and ministries. We emphasize the importance of the Word, which trains us to listen to each other and leads us to open ourselves to the Spirit.

However, we also felt resistance to this synodal path: some were unable, or unwilling, or did not know how to participate. In some regions, the lack of participation in the synodal process has been a visible expression of indifference, rejection, apathy, clericalism...

EIn summary, we have become aware of once again assuming our own synodal style. of the Church of the first centuries since the impetus given to the ecclesiology of communion by the Second Vatican Council. All this opens the door to the hope of continuing to walk and invites so many people to this “walk together” who have not yet joined it.

Formation from a synodal perspective is very necessary in the itineraries of initial and ongoing formation, of all vocations to enter into the new mentality of the disciples-missionaries (lay, ordained and consecrated) who walk together.
This is just a very brief summary of everything we experienced in this synodal environment. Next week we will work on module B.1. of the Instrumentum Laboris (IL).

Entrusting myself to your prayers.