The working sessions of the Synod began today with the singing of the Veni Creator Spiritus and then a long introduction by the Secretary General, followed by the REALATIO ANTE DISCEPTATIONEM, which was really looking at the material to be examined in the days ahead. They were both long and both stressing that this is a process to be carried on over the next 12 months. They have however set the tone for the long days ahead sitting listening to many talks. The first week is mostly “interventions” by the participants and then the second week we will meet in language groups to discuss the material which has been presented.
What we have all found fascinating is the presence of the Pope. He was in the Synod Hall half an hour before the start, wandering around speaking to everyone, at morning tea he was there with everyone getting his own coffee and chatting to all. This is totally different to what has happened in the past.
He also gave a short talk to the Assembly in which he said:
“no one can say ‘this cannot be said’”
“say what needs to be said without fear”
“listen with open hearts to what our brothers are saying”
“listen with humility, speak in peace and calm”
“keep in your minds and hearts that this is an experience of Synodality”
I can see that this is going to be a great couple of weeks under the leadership of Papa Francesco.
With every blessing
Photo: Pope Francis leads the discussion on the first day in the Synod Hall. Taken by Archbishop John Dew.