Archbishop John blogs from the Synod on the New Evangelisation for the Transmission for the Christian Faith.
Saturday evening in Rome and the work of the Synod is over, all we have left is the Closing Mass with Pope Benedict tomorrow. It has been a good experience to be part of, even though at times it seemed that it would never end. We were told today that in the Synod Hall we had listened to 429 talks in total, and then of course there was the work and the discussions in the small groups. Being with people from all over the world has meant that we have heard of many different situations which people are trying to cope with all over the world, poverty, lack of educational opportunities, very big questions in some places about interfaith relationships, an even more severe lack of clergy than we have in New Zealand in some places, financial difficulties for many dioceses. However, even with all of those and many other challenges there is an overall confidence and faith in the fact that God is with us and that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church.
One of the things I have noticed is that Pope Benedict talks and writes very often about 'Joy'. He is continually saying that we can only be people of joy because Jesus has saved the world and is with us, and then says that when we live joyful lives people will be attracted to the Gospel because they will want to have what we have.
There has been a deep sense that something new is happening in the Church, that this is the time of a New Pentecost which the Second Vatican Council called for. I have seen something of that confidence and energy during these days, and I believe that most of us are going home to our own Churches inspired and ready for the challenge to "preach the Gospel anew."
With all good wishes and every blessing.