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Continental Stage – Synod April 2023

April 17, 2023

While the sessions corresponding to the Continental Stage of the Synod continue, on the way to the Assembly that will take place next October, there is also movement in preparation for it.

There is an Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis Communio which recommends in its Article 10, I-2, the creation of a preparatory commission for such an Assembly.

By virtue of the same the Secretary General of the Synod, Card. Mario Grech, has constituted the Preparatory Commission for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops , which will be chaired by himself, with the following persons:

P. Giacomo Costa, SJ (coordinator)

Msgr. Timothy John Costelloe, SD

Msgr. Daniel E. Flores

Sr. Shizue Hirota, MMB

Msgr. Lucius A. Muandula

Prof. Dario Vitali

Msgr. Tomasz Trafny (secretary)

The General Rapporteur of the Synod will also participate in the work of the Commission, Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ.

In addition to this news that refers to the preparation of the Synodal Assembly in a practical way, we echo a very synodal dimension that is recommended for participation at all levels, which is the spiritual conversation.

This mode of conversation focuses on the quality of listening skills as well as the quality of the words spoken. This means paying attention to the spiritual movements in oneself and in the other person during the conversation, which requires being attentive to more than just the words expressed. This quality of care is an act of respect, welcome and hospitality towards others as they are.

It is an approach that takes seriously what goes on in the hearts of those who converse. There are two necessary attitudes that are fundamental in this process: active listening and speaking from the heart. The goal of spiritual conversation is to create an atmosphere of trust and welcome, so that people can express themselves more freely. This helps them to take seriously what is going on inside them when listening to others and speaking.

Ultimately, this inner attention makes us more aware of the presence and participation of the Holy Spirit in the process of sharing and discernment. Spiritual conversation focuses on the person we are listening to, on ourselves and on what we experience on a spiritual level. The fundamental question is: What is happening in the other person and in me, and how is the Lord acting in this regard?

We continue to walk in synodality with an open heart to the messages that come to us from the Lord, through the signs of the times, in order to discern the best response to his plans.

Maria Luisa Berzosa FI, Rome.