The 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops began Wednesday October 4 in Rome and runs until October 29. A wide cross section of clergy and laity are participating in the deliberative process for a synodal Church. Archbishop Charles Jason Gordon, President of the Antilles Episcopal Conference of Bishop (AEC), and representing the AEC has asked the faithful to give prayerful support.
In a message on the AEC’s Facebook page ahead of the meeting he said “synod” was made up of two words meaning “with” and “on the way”. “That means how are we walking together on the way so that synod on synodality is about the quality of the relationships that we have as we are walking together on the way to Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Gordon stated.
Consultations for the synod opened October 9-10, 2021 in dioceses worldwide.
Pointing to the input of bishops, priests, deacons, and laity—men and women, Archbishop Gordon said, “This synod is different, in that it is a synod of the whole people of God”.
He asked faithful to pray every day for the Holy Spirit to break through the hearts of participants and “bring the Church and everything God wants for His Church right now.”
Archbishop Gordon will share podcasts from Rome to keep the church informed. He recommended these should be discussion for families, friends and church, “so together we may build a better synodal Church”.
Bishop of St George’s-in-Grenada Clyde Harvey said the meeting in Rome was the culmination of all that was being done for the past few years. “As we have sought to be walking together with the whole Church in discerning what the Spirit is asking.”
In a video also on the AEC’s Facebook page, he said the Synod on Synodality was how to be church in this century and beyond. Reflecting on the Church through the past years he thought the Church is moving towards something, although this is unknown. The faithful must be open to where God is calling them.
He stressed that trust in the Spirit is needed. “Uniting ourselves in prayer and in listening to this meeting going on in Rome representative of the whole Catholic Church”. Bishop Harvey said people must trust the Spirit in joy and pride to be Catholic. He asked that the Spirit be trusted to guide all who are part of the assembly and to bless in a particular way Pope Francis and to be with the leaders of the Synod. Bishop Harvey continued, “Trust the Spirit to bless and guide our own representative Archbishop Jason Gordon so that he, although he is one among many, many, many, he may seem like one voice, that he may be truly in his listening and contribution be an instrument of the Spirit”. The synod ends in 2024.
In addition to the bishops, the synod will have input from more than 400 religious men, women, lay people appointed by Pope Franics. Voting members comprise 363 cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and lay men and women. Over a quarter of voting members are not bishops and 54 are women. – LPG
Church worldwide is called to offer a series of special intercessions and blessings for the synod. These are: Universal Prayer for Weekdays, Sunday Intercessions, recommended for the two Sundays preceding the Synod’s inauguration, and Sunday Blessing— a benediction to be shared at the close of Sunday Masses, connecting the global community in hope and anticipation for the Synod.