reflecting on the theme "How to be a synodal local Church in mission" Photo: © @Synod/Langarica

World meeting of parish priests for the synod at the Vatican

It will take place in two important moments: one in Sacrophane and the other in the Vatican. Pastors from all over the world will participate.

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(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 04.16.2024).- From 29 April to 2 May 2024, the International Meeting of Parish Priests for the Synod will be held  in Sacrofano (Rome), reflecting on the theme «How to be a synodal local Church in mission», in view  of the second session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.  With this note, H.E. Msgr. Luis Marín de San Martín, O.S.A., Undersecretary of the General  Secretariat of the Synod, and coordinator of the meeting, provides details to understand its  importance.

What is this meeting about and who is promoting it? 

It is a meeting for listening, for prayer and discernment promoted by the General Secretariat of the  Synod and the Dicastery for the Clergy, together with the Dicastery for Evangelisation (Section for  the First Evangelisation and the Particular New Churches) and the Dicastery for the Oriental  Churches.

This initiative also responds to the indications of the participants in the first session of the 16th  Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, who suggested listening more to the voice of  parish priests.

What are the objectives?  

  • To listen to and enhance the synodal experience they are having in their respective parishes  and dioceses.
  • To enable dialogue and the exchange of experiences and ideas.
  • To provide material to be used for the drafting of the Instrumentum laboris for the Second  Session, together with the summaries of the consultation coordinated by the Bishops’  Conferences and the results of the theological-canonical study carried out by five Working  Groups activated by the General Secretariat of the Synod.

How many participants will attend the meeting? 

The number of participants (around 200) was determined according to a criterion similar to that used  for the election of the members of the Synodal Assembly by the Bishops’ Conferences1. However,  given the requests received from some Bishops’ Conferences, the number of parish priests will be  higher than 200.

1 For the Latin Rite Church – according to the number of members of each Bishops’ Conference: 1 representative for  Bishops’ Conferences with no more than 25 members; 2 representatives for Bishops’ Conferences with 26-50 members;  3 for Bishops’ Conferences with 51-100 members; 4 for Bishops’ Conferences with more than 100 members. In addition,  1 parish priest per continent representing ecclesiastical circumscriptions without an Episcopal Conference. For the Eastern  Catholic Churches: 1 representative for each Synod of Bishops or Council of Hierarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches  with no more than 25 members; 2 representatives for each Synod or Council with 26-50 members; 3 representatives for  each Synod or Council with more than 50 members.

What criteria were used for the selection of the parish priests? 

For the selection of participants, the Bishops’ Conferences and Eastern Catholic Churches were asked  to take the following criteria into account as much as possible:

  • Preference for parish priests who have significant experience in the perspective of a synodal  Church.
  • Promotion of a variety of pastoral backgrounds (rural, urban, specific socio-cultural contexts,  etc.).  

How is the meeting programme structured? (see attached programme)

The meeting will take place in two major moments.

First moment 

In Sacrofano (29 April -1 May):

  • General theme: How to be a local synodal Church in mission.
  • A theme for each of the three days: The face of the synodal Church; All disciples, all  missionaries; Weaving bonds, building community.
  • Presentations will be accompanied by five experts: V. David (bishop, Philippines), B.  Ndubueze Ejeh (canonist, Nigeria), T. Halík (theologian, Czech Republic), G. Routhier  (theologian, Canada) and M.L. Zervino (sociologist, Argentina).
  • Method: Conversation in the Spirit.
  • Group and plenary work.
  • Time for prayer (prayer at the beginning of the day, time for personal prayer, celebration of  the Eucharist). In the morning, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed in the chapel.

Second moment 

At the Vatican (2 May):

  • Meeting-dialogue with the Holy Father (New Synod Hall).
  • Eucharist in St. Peter’s Basilica (Altar of the Cathedra).

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