Participants at the Synod of Bishops currently being held in the Vatican gathered together in prayer for the dire situation in the Middle East. The General Assembly, which took place yesterday afternoon, focused on various topics. Today, the report on the group discussion regarding “Inclusion” in the second period of the Working Paper will be presented. Additionally, a pilgrimage to the crypt was organized in the afternoon.
During the sixth press briefing on October 12, the latest developments of the Synod of Bishops were unveiled. The Church, united across the globe, joined forces in prayers for peace in the Middle East, Ukraine, Iraq, and Africa. The discussions held the previous day involved 343 members and emphasized the urgent need to collaborate in interreligious and intercultural dialogue.
Margaret Karram, President of the Focolare Movement, shared her testimony during the briefing. Having Israeli citizenship and Palestinian descent, she described the morning prayer at the Synod as a powerful moment. She expressed her heartache over the ongoing conflict and stated, “It was a very profound moment to pray with everyone.” Magalida Kalam added that though peace requires extensive effort, the power of prayer remains crucial. She emphasized the importance of walking together, engaging in dialogue, and transcending differences to promote unity within the Church.
Archbishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya from Cameroon highlighted the significance of unity within the African culture. He stated, “Walking together is already a part of African culture. In our Church, we are together like a family.” Expressing relief that Africa’s voice is heard during the Synod, the Archbishop firmly declared that war is never the solution to conflicts.
Sister Caroline Jarjis, a doctor from Baghdad, conveyed her experience at the Synod. Reciting the Gospel in Arabic, her native language, during the morning session, she was astonished by how well it was understood by all attendees. Sister Caroline acknowledged the hope present at the Synod and the resilience of her war-torn country, where Christians constitute a minority.
Later in the day, participants of the Synod were invited to embark on a pilgrimage to the Christian Crypt, which houses the relics of St. Peter and St. Paul. This visit came after a Mass presided over by Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu. The next plenary meeting will revolve around the theme of the third period of the Working Document: “Together Taking on a mission, how to share the grace and task of serving the gospel.”
During yesterday’s seventh plenary session, 343 members attended, with 36 of them delivering presentations. The topics discussed included interreligious and intercultural dialogue, the impact of colonialism on indigenous groups, the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and engaging young people in encountering Jesus. Archbishop Nkeia of Cameroon shared his diocese’s experiences during the briefing, revealing that each parish has prepared a chapel for Holy Communion as part of the Eucharistic Year.
The Synod also delved into the work of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Catholic leaders’ responsibility in promoting peace, the plight of marginalized women, and the need for inclusion and active listening within the Church.
Finally, Paolo Ruffini, Chairman of the Information Committee and Prefect of the Dicastery for Communications, reminded everyone of the feast day of Our Lady of Aparecida and Our Lady of the Holy Column. He emphasized the role of Mary as a devoted member of the Church, mother, prophetic figure, advocate of dialogue, embodiment of charism and holiness, and living Gospel.
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