Cardinal Grech conveys Pope’s ‘fatherly blessing’ for Synod Suva Assembly

In a video message sent on Sunday to the Suva Continental Assembly, Cardinal Grech recalls that this is an experience of "an ecclesial exercise of discernment which is based on the conviction that God is at work in the history of the world, and concretely in the events and situations that the People of God live in each continent".

By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

The Continental Assembly in Suva has begun. For the occasion, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Mauro Grech has sent a video message saying that he is accompanying the assembly with his prayers and conveys Pope Francis’s “fatherly blessing”.

“It is an honor and privilege that I can address the Churches in Oceania”, Cardinal Grech began his video message. He noted that the nature of the Continental Assembly in Suva is “to reflect, to discern about what the People of God are saying with regards to a synodal Church”.

Word of gratitude

He thanks the Assembly participants for their work, which he says is “enabling the whole Church to continue on that path that in so many parts of the world is renewing the vibrancy of the People of God and above all the impetus for the mission of proclaiming the Gospel that the Lord has entrusted to each one of us individually, but above all to all, together”.

The Cardinal encourages the Assembly participants to grow in “the awareness of the ‘we’ that we are” through the “synodal attitude that is of through dialogue, the only path along which we can grow as a Church. This requires speaking courageously and sincerely, that is, integrating truth and charity with a deep inner freedom”.

Speaking, listening, openness, willingness to change

Cardinal Grech then clarified that “frank speech” is “always accompanied by humility in listening”, an openness to newness, and the willingness to change opinions on the basis of what has been heard “from others in the light of the Word of God and the Church’s Magisterium”.

“Do not be afraid to speak. Do not be afraid to listen, to make an effort to welcome and understand others. And also, do not be afraid to change your mind based on what you hear.”

The true protagonist is the Holy Spirit

He also encouraged them to listen to the “Holy Spirit, the true protagonist of the synodal journey, which resounds in the words of the People of God”. In fact, he continued, the Spirit “will show us the path to follow and accompany us to follow it”. He also acknowledged that there are many elements of the synodal path that have been similar, while the way each path has been organized is different, a sign, he said, “of enrichment and vivacity. This is how the Holy Spirit really works”.

These are the conditions, the Cardinal said, that will allow the Continental Assemblies to “be what they must be – an ecclesial exercise of discernment which is based on the conviction that God is at work in the history of the world, and concretely in the events and situations that the People of God live in each continent”. The conditions will enable the sharing of “the resonances that the reading of the Working Document for the Continental Stage has elicited within each Church”, the restraint from making “decisions to develop plans”, the capacity “to recognize what the Spirit is suggesting to the Churches of each continent”. In this way, the Cardinal stated, October’s Synodal Assembly will be all the more stimulating.

“Remember also the profound meaning of the synodal process to push the whole Church, every believer, to take a step in the direction of this unfathomable depth in which the authentic source of our walk together results.”

The Lord calls to mission

In conclusion, the Cardinal reminded the Assembly participants in Suva that “the voice of the Lord who calls to the common mission, to proclaim his Gospel, and bring His salvation to a wounded world that desperately needs it. Synodality works when it is oriented to the service of mission and thus bears the mark of the joy of the Gospel that fills the hearts and lives of those who encounter Jesus”.

He ended by promising the participants of his prayers and a word of gratitude for their “commitment”.

“The Holy Father, thanks you for your commitment, and he asked me to convey to you his fatherly blessing.”

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04 February 2023, 08:24