Pope invites Synod delegates, faithful be like St. Francis of Assisi  

Pope Francis encouraged the participants of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to walk together “humble, fervent and joyful” like Saint Francis of Assisi.

As he led the Eucharistic celebration to open the Synod on Synodality during the feast of the patron saint of poverty in peace, the Holy Father told the bishops and lay people present at St. Peter’s Square that while the Synod is a reminder that “ourMother the Church is always in need of purification, of being “repaired””, Christians should take “weapons of Gospel” like what St. Francis did in challenges times.

“The Synod serves to remind us of this: our Mother the Church is always in need of purification, of being “repaired”, for we are a people made up of forgiven sinners – both elements: forgiven sinners –, always in need of returning to the source that is Jesus and putting ourselves back on the paths of the Spirit to reach everyone with his Gospel,” the Pope said.

“Francis of Assisi, in a time of great struggles and divisions, between temporal and religious powers, between the institutional Church and heretical currents, between Christians and other believers, did not criticize or lash out at anyone. He took up only the weapons of the Gospel: humility and unity, prayer and charity. Let us do the same: humility, unity, prayer and charity!” he added.

He also reiterated that the Synod is not a parliament but a walk together with “the gaze of Jesus, which is a blessing and welcoming gaze” and with the Holy Spirit as a protagonist.

“The Synod, dear brothers and sisters, is not a parliament. The Holy Spirit is the protagonist. We are not here to form a parliament but to walk together with the gaze of Jesus, who blesses the Father and welcomes those who are weary and oppressed.  So let us start from the gaze of Jesus, which is a blessing and welcoming gaze,” the Holy Father stressed.

The Pope also pointed that the Synod is not a political gathering but a “convocation in the Spirit” and a “place of grace and communion”.

Approximately 450 delegates from all over the world are working together in the Synod from October 4 until October 29 with Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula, Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David and Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara as members of the Philippine church contingent. (Lem Leal Santiago/RCAM-AOC | Photo of Pope from Vatican Media)


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