With the first session held today, 4 October 2023, the Synod “for a synodal Church” officially opens, which will last until 29 October 2023.
“Synod on synodality”
The Church of God is convened in Synod. With this appeal, Pope Francis invites the whole Church to question synodality: a decisive question for the life and mission of the Church.
What is a Synod?
A synod is a religious meeting or assembly in which bishops, gathered with the Holy Father, have the opportunity to mutually exchange information and share experiences, with the common goal of seeking pastoral solutions that have universal validity and application.
The novelty of this Synod 2023
On 9 October 2021, the Catholic Church began an intentional process of mutual listening that has lasted for two years and has engaged the People of God in a journey of communion, participation and mission.
The objective of this Synodal Process is not just a series of exercises that start and stop, but a path of authentic growth towards the communion and mission that God calls the Church to live in the third millennium.
Synodality is a new term that expresses the identity of the Church as a People of God on a journey, on a pilgrimage towards the Kingdom; It underlines the common dignity of all Christians and affirms their co-responsibility in the evangelizing mission.
What does this event mean in the life of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer?
We collect the answer from the contribution and testimony of some confreres who best show us the “synodal process” in these times in which we live the commitment to express our identity to the world: Missionaries of hope in the footsteps of the Redeemer.
Cardinal Tobin: “Synodality is Pope Francis’ vehicle for changing the Church” (6 May 2021 )
Cardinal Tobin, in a conference, identified Pope Francis’ proposal for synodality as the vehicle through which he hopes to inaugurate this new attention to the need for mercy and listening to a series of voices in the Church, stating that it is a “model of the Church that the Lord expects of us in these millennia, and which will require changes in the way we do and are the Church.”
Drawing on his own experience participating in five synods as the former superior general of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, three under Pope John Paul II and two under Pope Benedict XVI, Tobin said Francis is “setting an engine” for the Synod of Bishops, an organization started by Pope Paul VI.
Synodality, the cardinal observed, is an often misunderstood “slogan of this papacy.” Tobin said the path must be guided by a Church willing to walk together, recognizing the importance of conversion and the role that mercy plays in that process.
A Redemptorist in the Theological Commission of Synodality
In October 2021, the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Mario Grech, appointed a 25-member theological commission to assist in this synod process which will culminate with the Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2023. Among the three theologians Asians appointed to this Commission is the Redemptorist Father of Sri Lanka, Vimal Tirimanna CSsR.
On 9 August 2022, Father Vimal delivered the inaugural lecture at the inauguration of the academic year of Holy Trinity College, Harare, on the current process of synodality in the Church, Zimbabwe, where our theology students complete their Education.
The key to Father Vimal’s intervention was the idea that the synodal path does not want to leave anyone behind since everyone is called to walk together towards a life of holiness. Pope Francis encourages the Church towards the vision of the Second Vatican Council, in which the Church defines itself as the people of God, walking together and listening to the Holy Spirit.
Furthermore, the synodal path offers greater participation of the laity in the activities of the Church. Father Vimal spoke of the need to be attentive to the signs of the times and to remind ourselves of our vocation. He underlined how the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many lessons. He also underlined that, as Redemptorists, we sometimes lose sight of the path we must follow (follow Christ the Redeemer with a heart full of joy and always ready to accept challenges). Reading, identifying and correctly interpreting the signs of the times is what he defines as a true Redemptorist.
A synodal process that invites us to rethink life and mission.
A synodal process that limits itself to lamenting everything that has been lost or is being lost in ecclesial life and practice is not only not sufficient but is not even authentically evangelical. It should be a process that aims to transform the Christian spirit and lifestyle, its inspirations and ecclesial structures, at all levels of the life of the Churches.
If the process of synodality truly aims to bring out the most genuine evangelical energies of a Church that comes out with the announcement of the Gospel at the service of the realization of the Kingdom, it cannot only make use of the old mechanisms and structures, like old wineskins, it is necessary a real novelty, a leap in personal, structural and systemic attitudes and configurations.
The synod process invites us to rethink life and mission. In our case, a moral theology that listens and deals carefully with the concerns and questions of our time, with a wisdom and prophetic spirit. A moral theology that favors inter- and transdisciplinary configurations, cultivating the art of constant discernment, at the service of maturity and the liberation of consciences. A moral theology conceived from the existential peripheries, more from the elements than from false securities. (Antonio Gerardo Fidalgo, CSsR)
Scala News: Synodality, new wine in old wineskins?
Living synodality with the Redemptorist charism
“Today we begin the third phase of the General Chapter, the Redemptorist way of celebrating synodality in our Congregation”… these are the first words of the message of the Superior General, Fr. Rogério Gomes, in his opening message and meditation for the third phase of the XXVI General Chapter in Poland a few days ago (15 September 2023).
We are Missionaries of Hope in the footsteps of the Redeemer. With this hope, by celebrating this Pentecost, we will put into practice the decisions of the XXVI General Chapter. We are not afraid. We have a serene heart, open to dialogue, seeking together the good of the evangelizing reality of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, preparing ourselves for the 300 years of its history.
Be Missionaries of Hope by walking in the footsteps of the Redeemer. He reminds us of our essence. We are missionaries. We are apostolic men. We live in a common union, we constitute a single missionary body through our religious profession, and we are collaborators, companions and ministers of Jesus Christ in the work of Redemption. We are strong in faith, joyful in hope, fervent in charity, inflamed with zeal, humble and always dedicated to prayer. We are authentic disciples of Saint Alphonsus, we follow Christ the Redeemer with joy, we participate in his ministry, we proclaim with simplicity of life and language and with constant availability for the most difficult things to bring abundant redemption to men. (Fr. Rogério Gomes CSsR)
Find attached the second part of Laudato Si – LAUDATE DEUM released by the Vatican on 4th October 2023
On July 7, 2023, the Vatican Secretariat for Synods published the complete list of names of participants in the Synod on Synodality. It is interesting to note that among the participants there are three Redemptorists, namely,
- His Eminence Most Reverend Cardinal Joseph William TOBIN, C.SS.R., Archbishop of Newark (United States of America),
- His Excellency Most Reverend Most Reverend Bohdan DZYURAKH, C.SS.R., Apostolic Eparch of Germany and Scandinavia and titular Bishop of Vagada, and
- Father Vimal Tirimanna, CSsR, Professor of Moral Theology in Rome and Sri Lanka.