ASIA/HOLY LAND – From Catholic bishops to heads of other Churches: our synodal journey needs your experience and your advice

ASIA/HOLY LAND – From Catholic bishops to heads of other Churches: our synodal journey needs your experience and your advice

Vatican Media

Jerusalem (Agenzia Fides) – In the synodal journey that has just begun, the Catholic Church of the Holy Land “listens” to the wisdom and experience of the other Churches present in the land of Jesus, and for this reason also encourages its own ” to be in contact with the priests and pastors of all the Christian communities who live in their region”. It is a kind of “Ecumenical SOS” launched by the ordinary Catholic bishops of the Holy Land with the explicit intention of informing and possibly involving the brothers of other local Churches and ecclesial communities on the synodal path also articulated begun in this region in view of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the agenda for October 2023 and devoted to the theme “For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission”.
In a document written ad hoc and distributed not by chance within the framework of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which has just ended, the Ordinaries of the Catholic Churches address the heads of the other Churches present in the Holy Land, first informing them of all the missionary intentions that animate the synodal process also begun in the land of Jesus, as has happened in all the Catholic dioceses, at the invitation of Pope Francis: “It is a question of leaving on the journey together, listening and growing in communion, strengthening the participation of all and engaging with more enthusiasm in the mission of the Church. As we walk together, we realize once again that we do not walk alone,” explain the Catholic bishops of the Holy Land. The purpose of this Synod – adds the document – is to “renew our Church at a time when we are facing so many crises at all levels”, noting that even in the Holy Land “the pandemic has had tragic effects on life of the Church”, while “the political situation continues to create innumerable obstacles to our mission and in the lives of our faithful. Our faithful are exhausted and often in despair, seeing little or no future for Christians in our region”. In this situation – continue the Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land – “We all need to renew our energies, to recommit ourselves to our faith and to believe that walking with Christ leads to a horizon of hope”.
The local phase of the synodal journey will last until the beginning of September 2022. During this time, our parishes, Christian institutions, congregations and movements will walk the synodal journey together, also in order to “write an exhaustive report on the state And in this process – explain the Catholic bishops, addressing the heads of other Churches and ecclesial communities “we would be delighted to share with you what we are learning and also to learn from you, listening to your wisdom and your experience. Pope Francis has has repeatedly said and written that Catholics have much to learn from the Orthodox regarding the exercise of synodality. As we embark on this path, we are more aware than ever that we, all together, as disciples of Christ in this Earth which is His home, we are called to bear witness to Him. We remember that His dearest wish was that we be one (cf. John 17)”.
In the synodal journey – continues the text published by the Catholic bishops of the Holy Land – “we are invited to listen more than to speak. We listen to the voice of the Lord as we meet him and the way, the voice of the Holy Spirit as he comes to us through the reading of the scriptures and the encounter with our neighbours. Listening being at the center of the synodal process , we not only want to inform you about this process, but also listen to anything you might want to tell us.
We encourage our priests to be in contact with the priests and pastors of all the Christian communities who live in their region”.
The text published by the Catholic bishops of the Holy Land reports in words the “prayer for the Synod” recited on the occasion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: “Heavenly Father, as the Magi went to Bethlehem led by the star, then by your celestial light,
guide the Catholic Church to walk with all Christians in this time of synod.
As the Magi were united in their worship of Christ, lead us closer to your Son and thus to each other, so that we may become a sign of the unity you desire for your Church and for all creation”.
At the beginning of November, as Agenzia Fides reports (see Fides 4/11/2021), the Assembly of Ordinary Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land published the “Ecumenical Pastoral Guidelines” for the Catholic Churches. On the basis of these provisions, a priest belonging to one of the Catholic communities present in the Holy Land can administer the sacraments of Penance, the Eucharist and the Anointing of the Sick even to Christians belonging to the Orthodox and Oriental Churches not Catholics, if they request it spontaneously, on their own initiative, “and are sufficiently prepared”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 01/26/2022)


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