Summary of Synod Assemblies 1999-2001

Including Assembly for Europe

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 7, 2005 (Zenit.org).- With the 11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops under way, ZENIT is publishing in these days a summary of the past synodal assemblies.

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[Continued from Thursday]

19. II Special Assembly for Europe

In session: Oct. 1-23, 1999

Synod fathers: 117

Topic: “Jesus Christ, Alive in His Church, Source of Hope for Europe”

The Second Special Assembly for Europe is the last in the series of continental synodal assemblies which were convoked by the Holy Father in his Apostolic Letter “Tertio Millennio Adveniente” as part of the preparation for the Jubilee Year 2000. Notwithstanding the fact that the First Special Assembly for Europe took place in 1991, less than a decade ago, new social and cultural situations, existent on the continent in the wake of political changes in the East, have created pastoral challenges which make particularly opportune the convocation of a Second Special Assembly for Europe.

On Feb. 9, 1997, the Holy Father appointed the pre-synodal council to assist in the preparation of this synodal assembly, which, with the help of theologians from Europe and the staff of the General Secretariat, published the “lineamenta” (Spring 1998) and the “instrumentum laboris” (June 21, 1999) of the Special Assembly.

In the course of the Second Special Assembly, the synod fathers gave attention to the various realities in the Church in Europe and the particular historic moment in the project towards unifying the continent. The topic of Jesus Christ, alive in his Church, dominated the synodal discussion on the cultural roots of the continent, while, at the same time, serving as the source of hope in the building of a new Europe on the foundation of faith.

The postsynodal council, elected during the assembly, held various meetings to analyze the outcome of the synod and to contribute to the drafting of the Holy Father’s postsynodal apostolic exhortation “Ecclesia in Europa” which was promulgated in the Vatican, June 28, 2003, on the vigil of the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul.

In 2004, the postsynodal council met to begin the process of evaluating the impact and implementation of “Ecclesia in Europa” in the continent. In this regard, a questionnaire was composed and sent to the episcopal conferences and continental organizations in Europe in view of providing the same bodies with a summary report of the initiatives and programs, planned or underway, in the Church in Europe.

20. X Ordinary General Assembly

In session: Sept. 30-Oct. 27, 2001

Topic: “The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World”

During the synodal assembly the synod fathers focused on the person and role of the bishop in his diocese at the start of the millennium.

On Oct. 26, 2001, the synodal assembly elected members to the X Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat to which the Holy Father appointed three members.

The council assisted the Holy Father in drafting the postsynodal apostolic exhortation “Pastores Gregis,” promulgated Oct. 16, 2003, in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the Holy Father’s election.

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