10/26/2023, 14.32
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The Synod to the People of God: let us go forward in listening

As the ongoing assembly in Rome nears its conclusion on Sunday, a letter to the faithful of the Churches around the world on the continuation of the synod's journey in the coming year, with a view to the concluding session in October 2024, has been released. In the summary document (to be voted on Saturday) there will be points of agreement reached, but also open questions. "To progress in its discernment, the Church absolutely needs to listen to everyone".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - A time of "profound communion with all of you, supported by your prayers, carrying with us your expectations, your questions and even your fears," but which now calls for further steps forward in the listening style that the synod process has initiated.

The 365 members of the synodal assembly which is concluding its session in Rome have written a "Letter to the People of God".Ahead of the summary report of the working sessions that will be voted on on Saturday evening as a guide towards next year's final session scheduled for October 2024, it is a path that must continue with all the people of God; hence the meaning of the message that the assembly decided to send to all the faithful.

“For the first time, at the invitation of Pope Francis, men and women were invited, by virtue of their baptism, to sit at the same table – the text recalls – to take part not only in the discussions but also in the votes of this assembly of Synod of Bishops. Together, in the complementarity of our vocations, our charisms and our ministries, we listened intensely to the Word of God and the experience of others".

A month of work that took place "in the context of a world in crisis, whose wounds and scandalous inequalities have resonated painfully in our hearts and have given our work a particular gravity, especially since some of us came from countries where the war rages. We prayed for the victims of murderous violence - explain the members of the Synod - without forgetting all those whom poverty and corruption have thrown onto the dangerous paths of migration. We have assured our solidarity and our commitment alongside the women and men who work as artisans of justice and peace everywhere in the world."

On the new phase of the Synod which will begin after the final Mass on Sunday, the letter expresses the hope that "the months that separate us from the second session, in October 2024, will allow everyone to concretely participate in the dynamism of missionary communion indicated by the word ' synod'. It is not an ideology but an experience rooted in the Apostolic Tradition."

The members of the Synod say that the summary report of the first session "will clarify the points of agreement reached, highlight the open questions and indicate how to continue the work". Immediately adding that "To progress in its discernment, the Church absolutely needs to listen to everyone, starting with the poorest".

“It's about listening to those who do not have the right to speak in society - continues the text - or who feel excluded, even from the Church. Listen to people who are victims of racism in all its forms, especially, in some regions, indigenous peoples whose cultures have been mocked. Above all, the Church of our time has the duty to listen, in a spirit of conversion, to those who have been victims of abuse committed by members of the ecclesial body, and to commit concretely and structurally to ensure that this never happens again".

In this dynamic of listening, "catechists are also expressly mentioned, who in many situations are the first to announce the Gospel; the simplicity and liveliness of the children, the enthusiasm of the young people, their questions and their calls; the dreams of the elderly, their wisdom and their memory. The Church needs to listen to families, to their educational concerns, to the Christian testimony they offer in today's world. She needs to welcome the voices of those who wish to be involved in lay ministries or in participatory bodies of discernment and decision-making."

But the Church - they add - particularly needs to "collect even more the words and experience of ordained ministers: the priests, the first collaborators of the bishops, whose sacramental ministry is indispensable to the life of the whole body; the deacons, who through their ministry signify the concern of the whole Church in the service of the most vulnerable. She must also allow herself to be challenged by the prophetic voice of consecrated life, vigilant sentinel of the calls of the Spirit. And she must also be attentive to those who do not share her faith but seek the truth, and in whom the Spirit is present and active."

"The world in which we live, and which we are called to love and serve even in its contradictions," the letter concludes, quoting a passage from a 2015 speech by Pope Francis, "requires the Church to strengthen synergies in all areas of its mission. It is precisely the path of synodality that God expects from the Church of the third millennium. We must not be afraid to respond to this call. The Virgin Mary, first on the path, accompanies us on our pilgrimage. In her joys and sorrows she shows us her Son and invites us to trust. He, Jesus, is our only hope!".

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