Last October 2021, the Synod of Synodality began, with the three axes already known: Communion-Participation-Mission. It was announced as a process, not as a one-off event. And this process has different stages which will culminate in an Assembly in October 2023.
I would like to remind you, for the sake of clarity, how the General Secretariat of the Synod is organised and how it is working.
The Secretary General is Cardinal Mario Grech, assisted by the Vice-Secretary Nathalie Becquart, a French religious of the Xaviere Congregation, and the Under-Secretary Luis Marín Osa, a Spanish Augustinian religious.
We can say that this secretariat has four long arms for its task, which are the four Commissions: Theology, Methodology, Communication and Spirituality; I belong to the last one and as each one of them has its own rhythm and agenda of work, in it we have made thematic subgroups and I coordinate the one on Spiritual Exercises.
Our first face-to-face meeting was in October, after which we have continued to work in this way or online, according to possibilities. But the last week of April we met in Rome, the four Commissions, almost 80 people, and the meeting was very enriching for various reasons: universal coexistence due to the diversity of countries of origin, intense but enthusiastic work for the task entrusted to us, moments of prayer, informal times, exchange of groups … In the end we affirmed with conviction that:
“It is the time of the Spirit”. “it is the time of the Spirit”, “synodality is here to stay”, “the church of the future is synodal or it will not be”, “we need to collaborate with the Spirit”, etc. etc.
We are now concluding the first of the stages indicated in the process: Diocesan; a multitude of contributions are coming in from all over the world and already the General Secretariat is implementing working groups and instruments for corresponding syntheses. Perhaps we have had the opportunity to participate in the final assembly of the Diocese itself and it may be that the result has not been as expected, because urgent issues are missing, because the reception of the contributions has not been faithfully followed, for various reasons, but it is possible that the results have not been as expected. But when one has a more global vision, one realises that the path that is being taken in a way of being a synodal church is not linear – it cannot be – but that certain themes appear very much suggested in different contexts and there are interesting and very universal coincidences.
And the cries of the Spirit do not appear only by thematic repetition but by insinuations, desires, projects, dreams… that push in one direction and once again we remember the fundamental and most synodal attitude: listening to one another and together to the Spirit to discern the ways to be an ever more synodal church in the present and in the future.
And there is no lack of resistance and even opposition, to the Second Vatican Council from which we come and to current instances and persons who, guided by the Spirit, want to carry it forward. But let us not allow ourselves to be paralysed, but let us go forward with confidence, adding all voices, leaving no one out. And from there we open ourselves to the continental stage, as the next chapter.
It can help us to visit the website from time to time, read the newsletter and see how many materials arrive daily with impressive creativity. It is a way to look at the universal church and to see all the rich colour that unites us fundamentally and offers us the gift of diversity.
From September onwards we will be reporting monthly on the process followed.
María Luisa Berzosa FI