The month of September – in this Hemisphere – could be subtitled: Return, not with a withered forehead, as the tango sings, but with renewed energy if we have been able to rest – it is already a privilege to have a job and another added privilege – to be able to have a holiday.
Back to school, to the office, to the company, to the workshop, back to the routine of everyday life … but the important question is how we return: with renewed energy? with new strength, physical, psychological and spiritual? Or does the return bring with it some post-vacation trauma? Questions that are perhaps a little uncomfortable to answer, but necessary if we want to live meaningfully both the work and the rest.
And speaking of returning, we have also resumed our synodal tasks. Time flies and we are moving towards the final assembly in October 2023. On 15 August last, the deadline for the diocesan phase closed and we are now approaching the Continental phase, that is to say, the Episcopal Conferences.
New works of theological research, new inputs to help the Continental phase, other thematic sub-commissions that are being created… There we are with stages marked in the agenda to deliver works. We are still on the synodal journey; we know that it is not a one-off event but a process and a spiritual process that requires a prayerful attitude, listening to each other and to the Spirit together.
While here we were in summer time, in other latitudes they were in the middle of the academic year and there have been many meetings at different levels, all with the aim of not stopping the rhythm, but continuing the dialogue and trying to accompany the itinerary in each context.
In the last days of August, the Continental Phase of the Synod was presented at a press conference.
For the occasion, Cardinals Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod, and Jean Claude Hollerich, General Rapporteur for the next Synod, gave information on the Syntheses that have reached the General Secretariat of the Synod and that have been elaborated from the unprecedented worldwide consultation of the People of God in the previous months, as well as some information on how the Document for the Continental Phase will be elaborated.
Nathalie Becquart xmcj, Luis Marín osa, under-secretary and under-secretary of the Synod Secretariat, and Giacomo Costa sj, member of the commission preparing the synthesis of the contributions received, also offered their reading and their own testimony of the first stage of the process.
The whole team shared with us their experiences, which can be summarised as follows: gratitude, appreciation of the experiences gained and analysis of the perspectives that invite us to note the dimensions of synodality that commit us and make us grow in love for the Church.
They also affirmed that an enormous amount of documentation has arrived that speaks to us of a living church, in need of authenticity and healing.
We cannot ignore the fact that the rhythms of work and commitment are very diverse and that there is no lack of resistance, sometimes direct and sometimes more passive, but it is becoming clear that “synodality is here to stay”.
And the most important thing is to ensure that the Church walks together, without exclusions or prejudices, but listening to the voice of all, so that no one suffers for not feeling welcomed and listened to.
To continue the journey together in this new stage, a continuation of the previous one, it will help us to renew our trust in the Spirit who leads this process and in the enthusiasm to offer the best of each person and community and thus achieve a church that is either synodal or it is not.
We appropriate the verses of Mario Benedetti that impel us:
Don’t give up, please don’t give in, even if the cold burns,
even if fear bites, even if the sun sets and the wind dies,
there is still fire in your soul, there is still life in your dreams,
because every day is a new beginning, because this is the time and the best time…
María Luisa Berzosa FI