To mark both the Feast of St Jerome and the closing of the Month of the Bible, FEBIC LAC (Federacion Biblica Latino Americana y Caribena)—The Biblical Federation of Latin America and the Caribbean—held a virtual Encounter with the theme: Synodality, September 30.
Among the 49 participants were representatives from various countries of South America. There were also participants from Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain, and the United States, and five from the Antilles Zone—Lauren Branker and Gale Oxley, both from Trinidad & Tobago, Luciano Cuellar (Belize), Fr Vibert Stephens (Barbados), Fr Juancho Pilongo (Curacao) and the zonal coordinator for the Antilles, Msgr William John-Lewis (Dominica). As most of the participants spoke Spanish, Msgr John-Lewis assisted with translating for English-speaking participants.
According to a report from Msgr John-Lewis, in his opening remarks, Fr Jesus Antonio Weisensee, Regional Coordinator, FEBIC LAC, reminded the participants that this Encounter was in a sense the continuation of a similar Encounter held on the same date last year, marking the Closing of the Year of the Word of God.
“The present Encounter is our way of answering the call of the Holy Father, Pope Francis to reflect on this new way of being church, i.e., Synodality, a way of the people of God journeying together while listening to each other and listening to what the Holy Spirit is asking of the Church,” Fr Jesus Antonio explained.
He also paid homage to the late Fr Cesar Herrera who pioneered the Biblical Federation, having been the first Regional Coordinator.
Fr Jesus Antonio then gave a Prezi video presentation on synodality. Beginning with the legacy of the Second Vatican Council, with special reference to Lumen Gentium, he explored the thinking of the Holy Father on the topic of synodality.
Following his presentation, the participants were divided into groups to discuss one of three articles: an excerpt from the document Synodality in the Life and Mission of the Church from the International Theological Commission; the Speech delivered by the Holy Father on October 17, 2015, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Institution of the Synod of Bishops; and the Letter from the Holy Father to the People (Pilgrims) of Chile.
Each group was asked to reflect on and discuss one or the other of the articles with a view to answering the questions: 1. What does the text generate? How does it inspire or motivate? 2. What new steps does it propose especially with reference to the FEBIC LAC?
A summary of the responses of the various groups will be compiled and published as a document which can serve as FEBIC LAC’s contribution to the preparation of both the Latin American Ecclesial Assembly, November 21– 28, 2021 and the Synod of Bishops in 2023.