Talk to us

CathNews, the most frequently visited Catholic website in Australia, is your daily news service featuring Catholics and Catholicism from home and around the world, Mass on Demand and on line, prayer, meditation, reflections, opinion, and reviews. And, what's more - it's free!

Members of the assembly of the Synod of Bishops begin their small-group discussions in the Paul VI Audience Hall at the Vatican yesterday (CNS/Vatican Media)

The 364 members of the assembly of the Synod of Bishops and the 85 experts, facilitators and ecumenical delegates accompanying them began their work in earnest yesterday, meeting, sharing and praying in small groups. Source: OSV News.

Most of the Synod’s work was scheduled to take place in small groups, arranged by language and with a mix of cardinals, bishops, priests, religious, lay women and lay men. The 35 working groups, with 10-12 people each, include 14 groups working in English, eight in Italian, seven in Spanish, five in French and one in Portuguese.

The Synod members were asked to begin by focusing on the assembly working document’s assertion that “a synodal Church is founded on the recognition of a common dignity deriving from baptism, which makes all who receive it sons and daughters of God, members of the family of God, and therefore brothers and sisters in Christ, inhabited by the one Spirit and sent to fulfil a common mission.”

After morning prayer yesterday, the groups began with each member sharing, for a maximum of four minutes, “what seems most important and most meaningful, what they feel emerges most strongly from their memory” of the input of the various Synod listening sessions over the past two years regarding what contributes to or detracts from strengthening that model of a synodal Church.

Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Dicastery for Communication and president of the assembly’s Commission for Information, told reporters yesterday the morning work followed the model of “spiritual conversation”: members shared their experience and after a pause for silence and prayer, each person shared what struck or touched them most about what the others had shared. After more silence, they began trying to list common traits and obvious differences in what they had heard.

Each working group will be asked to draft a short report on their conversation, vote on whether it accurately reflects the discussion and then choose someone to read it to the whole assembly. 


Synod members begin small-group discussions on ‘synodality’ (By Cindy Wooden, CNS via OSV News)