AMERICA – “Synodal Church, missionary Church”: dioceses of the continent united at the beginning of the synodal journey

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Rome – On October 16 and 17, in the cathedrals and parishes of most of the nations of America, the celebrations were held to start the diocesan stage of the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the theme “For a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission”, convened by Pope Francis for October 2023.
The Presidency of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference has published a message in which it expresses its joy at the convocation of Pope Francis and invites “the members of the people of God and people of good will, in their dioceses with their communities, to open their minds and their hearts, to actively participate in this synodal process”. The Bishops highlight that the Synod, “particularly in our nation, so affected by the crisis that has undermined hope in so many brothers, is a concrete sign of divine grace, to continue proclaiming the Gospel and building the Kingdom of God, of justice, peace, freedom and love in Venezuela”.
On Sunday, October 17, a solemn Eucharist was also celebrated in the dioceses of Nicaragua on the occasion of the inauguration of the diocesan phase of the Synod, in communion with Pope Francis. In the Metropolitan Cathedral of Managua, the rite was presided over by Mgr. Carlos Avilés, Vicar General, on behalf of Cardinal Leopoldo José Brenes, who is still recovering from Covid-19. The Archdiocese continues to pray intensely for the entire Church, for the Synod 2021-2023, for the Missionary Month, for the Covid-19 patients, for the health personnel and for those who died due to this pandemic.
The Archbishop of Bogotá and President of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, Monsignor Luis José Rueda Aparicio, addressed the priests of the entire country, inviting them to live this ecclesial event as a time of grace and blessing, united with all the people of God who have the task of guiding. The Archbishop observed that, in all the cardinal points of Colombia, the Church constitutes “a network of servants of Christ Jesus, anointed, loved and sent to evangelize” therefore “we now have the kairos of the Synod with which the Holy Spirit, through Pope Francis, invites us to set out and this will renew our priestly life”.
The solemn Eucharist for the beginning of the synodal journey of the Church of Sucre, Bolivia, took place in the Metropolitan Cathedral, presided over by Archbishop Ricardo Centellas, who reminded those present that “we are all part of the Church of Sucre and we are all involved in its missionary task”. In his homily, the Archbishop invited to invoke the Holy Spirit in this synodal journey: “We do not bring what we think, but we share what the Holy Spirit inspires us, thus discovering what the Church must be in this time”. At the end of the Mass, the Archbishop blessed the jug with water, the banner, the sandals and the stick, all “missionary” signs that will accompany this synodal time. All the dioceses and parishes of Chile celebrated the beginning of the synodal journey by gathering in churches together with their Parish priests. On the morning of Saturday, October 16, in the Cathedral of the diocese of San José De Melipilla, a liturgy was held presided over by Bishop Cristián Contreras Villarroel, who, addressing the various representatives of the community, underlined: “Being disciples and being an outgoing Church brings us to think about the path, to accelerate our steps. This is the Pope’s invitation. We speak of a synodal Church, an expression that means ‘walking together’. We are the People of God, with a variety of charisms, ministries, services, rooted in the same vocation and for a single mission: to evangelize!”. The Eucharistic celebration presided over by Monsignor Álvaro Beyra Luarca opened the synodal process in the Cuban Diocese of Bayamo-Manzanillo. The Bishop invited us to open our hearts to the Spirit, to learn to walk together as the People of God, through the listening and participation of all, infecting the men and women of our time with the joy and hope that spring from the Gospel. “The Lord Jesus – he said in his homily – promised that he would send his Spirit, the Comforter, to tell us what we must do at all times. And that presence has not been lacking throughout the history of the Church. It has always been there. When we have done wrong it is because we have not listened to his voice”.