Vatican City (AsiaNews) - It will be the synod with the largest number of participants, 262 "Fathers", who will be joined 45 experts and 49 auditors, men and women, 15 representatives of the Churches and ecclesial communities not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church, including the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and the primate of the Anglican Communion, Rowan Douglas Williams and three special guests: Brother Alois, Prior of Taizé, Rev. Lamar Vest, president of the American Bible Society and Werner Arber, Professor of Microbiology in the Biozentrum, University of Basel and president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The numbers presented today by Msgr. Nikola Eterovic Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, indicate the importance that the Church gives to the next Synodal assembly, to be held in the Vatican, 7 to 28 October 2012 on the theme "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian faith."
Benedict XVI himself on October 7 will open the XIII Assembly of the Synod with a solemn celebration during which he will declare two saints doctors of the Church: St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen. The program includes three other celebrations with the Pope on 11 October, on the occasion of the 50th beginning of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. On that occasion, the Pope will open the Year of Faith, October 21, when he will canonize 7 Blessed: Giacomo Berthieu, Pedro Calungsod, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Maria del Monte Carmelo Sallés y Barangueras, Marianna Cope, Katherine Tekakwitha and Anna Schäffer and October 28, the closing of the Synod, when he will concelebrate with all the Synod Fathers and the priests who participated in the work.
The starting point of the work
will be the Instrumentum laboris, a summary of the answers given on the theme
of the new evangelization. The
fact that the percentage of those who gave their opinion on the questionnaire
was 90.5% indicates, according to Msgr. Eterovic,
"the great interest of the particular Churches and other organizations on
the topic of the Synod's deliberations."
The Secretary of the Synod emphasized the spiritual dimension of the assembly. "Prayer - he said - accompanies and animates every synodal activity. Moreover, the Christians are invited to pray without ceasing, following the example of the Lord Jesus. More so for a gathering of bishops, representatives of the episcopate of the world whole, around the Bishop of Rome and president of the Synod of Bishops, which can only take place in an atmosphere of prayer". "The Secretary-General received the assurance of prayers from many individuals and ecclesial communities. To all we are grateful for this important support that, no doubt, will strengthen the bonds of communion between the bishops not only gathered around the Holy Father in the Synodal Assembly, but with all the members of the People of God who follow the work of the Synod. "