Feedback during synod shows church is ‘alive,’ yearns for Gospel, panel says

By Catholic News Service
Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Xavière Missionary Sister Nathalie Becquart, undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops, and Italian Jesuit Father Giacomo Costa, adviser to the secretary-general of the synod, arrive for a news conference to present an update on the synod process at the Vatican Aug. 26, 2022. CNS photo/Paul Haring

VATICAN CITY — The input and feedback coming from those taking part in the synodal journey underway around the world have inspired feelings of gratitude, hope and deeper faith for the many people involved with the process, said a panel of officials and organizers for the Synod of Bishops.

Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops, said organizers are seeing “a church that is alive, in need of authenticity and healing and that increasingly yearns to be a community that celebrates and proclaims the joy of the Gospel, learning to walk and discern together.”

He and others spoke to reporters at a Vatican news conference Aug. 26, updating the results of the concluded first phase of the synodal process.

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, relator general of the synod, said that reading the syntheses from the episcopal conferences and other major organizations representing the church “has produced in me, as a disciple of Christ and as a bishop, a great spiritual consolation that opens up to a great hope. This hope must now be transformed into missionary dynamism.”

The Synod of Bishops’ office has received the summaries from more than 100 of the world’s 114 bishops’ conferences, “and they are still arriving. This incredible figure tells us that yes, the church is in synod!” he said. The world’s bishops’ conferences were asked to send in reports by mid-August synthesizing the experiences, questions, discussions and insights that emerged from their parishes and dioceses.

The “second” or “continental phase” of the process has begun, in which the Synod of Bishops’ office will group together the bishops’ conferences’ reports by continent, then draft a document that highlights the priorities and core issues that emerge on a broader, more “continental” scale.

Each continental document will go back to the bishops’ conferences in that area so they can be sent to the local, parish and diocesan levels for a period of reflection, listening, dialogue and discernment that responds to and enriches the document from the synod office. Those responses will be returned to the Synod of Bishops’ office and will form the foundation for building the working document for the general assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2023.


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