The day began as usual with Mass at the Instituto Maria Bambina where I am privileged to be staying, it is just outside the Colonnades of St Peter’s Square. Just before I headed to the Synod Hall I looked down from the Terrace, which looks straight into St Peters, this was 8am and the Piazza was almost full of people waiting for the General Audience of Pope Francis. The General Audience begins at 11am. He is most certainly drawing the crowds and having an impact on many people.
In the Synod Hall today there were some great interventions and some very real stories:
One intervention spoke of a woman who contacted her bishop to say that her husband had walked out on her, she went to her local priest who basically told her to grin and bear it and there was no way she could get an annulment. She contacted her bishop the day he was leaving for this Synod to say that she felt like ending her life, he has made a time to meet with her the day he returns form the Synod.
Another urged the Church to dwell more on the positive than the negative, to dwell more on joy and life and possibilities than on rules and prohibitions, and to look at the beauty of family life even in the midst of difficulties and how a relationship with Jesus Christ can bring peace and contentment, because it focuses on mercy rather than judgement.
With every blessing