Fr. Andrew Kaufa smm
At the ecumenical vigil which took place at Saint Peter’s Square as an initial step for the synod, Pope Francis insisted that praying in silence and listening to the great silence are important in the life of the believer, especially now as the Church prays for the success of the 16th General Assembly of the Synod on Synodality, a point that is also underscored by synod participants’ going for a retreat three-day retreat at Fraterna Domus retreat house in Sacrofano.
“This evening, we Christians have been silent before the San Damiano Cross, as disciples listening before the cross, the Master’s throne. Ours was not an empty silence, but a moment filled with faith, expectation and readiness. In a world full of noise, we are no longer accustomed to silence; indeed sometimes we struggle with it, because silence forces us to face God and ourselves,” said Pope Francis as he addressed thousands of pilgrims who gathered at Saint Peter’s Square for an ecumenical prayers from different communities and countries to pray for the success of the synod meeting.
“That is why, brothers and sisters, in common prayer we ask to learn again to be silent: to listen to the voice of the Father, the call of Jesus and the groaning of the Spirit. Let us ask that the Synod be a kairós of fraternity, a place where the Holy Spirit will purify the Church from gossip, ideologies and polarization,” Pope Francis continued as he thanked the Taizé community that animated the liturgy, a delegation of the leaders of different Churches and Christian traditions for coming to pray with the Catholics prior to the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
“Let us walk together, not only Catholics but all Christians, all the baptized, the whole people of God because only the whole can be the unity of all,” he concluded in recognition of the leaders of the different churches who included the leader of the Anglican Church Most Rev. Justin Welby who is the Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Rev. Dr Anne Wilson chair of the Pentecostal World Fellowship, among the over twenty leaders of different churches who participated in the vigil.
The three-day retreat which ends on Tuesday, 3rd October ushers the participants into the next phase of the journey which is a twenty-five-day synod gathering at Aula Paul VI at the Vatican, from October 4 to 25, 2023.