The 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops begins its reflections on Module B-1 of the Instrumentum Laboris, with Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich introducing the Fourth General Congregation on Monday morning.
By Deborah Castellano Lubov
The 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission” is underway in the Vatican, from 4 to 29 October 2023, and participants began reflecting on the next portion of the Instrumentum Laboris on Monday.
On Monday morning, Synod Participants began with their daily morning Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï, the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch, delivered the homily, in which he insisted that the “synodal path helps us to respond to global crises.”
They then returned to the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, the Synod venue, until lunchtime, where they proceeded with the General Congregation.
A communion that radiates
The Synod’s General Rapporteur, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, introduced Module B-1.
He recalled that in the first module, “we reconnected with the experience of the ‘journeying together’ of the people of God over the past two years,” and “worked to bring the synodal Church into sharper focus as a comprehensive vision.”
With the second, on the other hand, he said, we “address the first of the three questions that have emerged from listening to the people of God and on which this Assembly is called to exercise its discernment.”
With the Module’s title being “A communion that radiates”, the Cardinal suggested the priority will be reflecting on: “How can we be more fully a sign and instrument of union with God and of the unity of all humanity?”
Cardinal Hollerich reiterated to the assembly what lies ahead.
“This afternoon and tomorrow morning we will work in the Circuli Minores, according to the method of communal discernment inspired by conversation in the Spirit that we have already practised. We listen to each other, we listen to the Spirit.
“We will begin to draft the group’s report and prepare the speech that the rapporteur will read in the assembly, focusing on the points that your group wishes to submit to the assembly in order to go deeper in a common discernment,” he said.
4th General Congregation
After Cardinal Hollerich’s introduction, Synod members heard several interventions and testimonies on the themes presented in Module B-1.
Father Timothy Radcliffe, OP, offered a spiritual reflection on ‘The Samaritan Woman at the Well: John 4:7–30.’
Dr. Anna Rowlands, professor of Catholic Social Thought and Practice at the Department of Theology and Religion & Centre for Catholic Studies of Durham University in the UK, offered a theological reflection on the theme: ‘Communion: the wedding feast of the Lamb.’
Metropolitan Job (Getcha) of Pisidia, Co-President of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, offered a reflection on the experience of synodality in the Orthodox Church.
In addition, Father Clarence Davedassan of Malaysia spoke on ‘How can we be more fully a sign and instrument of union with God and of the unity of all humanity?’ While Siu Wai Vanessa Cheng, a lay Catholic from Hong Kong, delivered her testimony on ‘Synodality and Culture,’ and in particular, ‘Synodality and Asian Cultures.’
Later, on Monday afternoon, the working groups gathered to discuss the new module.
Source: VATICAN NEWS