I have arrived in Rome for the Synod on the Family. My immediate impression in speaking with people staying at Instituto Maria Bambina is that this is going to be of great importance. Everyone also recognises that this is just the start and that it will build up to next year’s Synod.
By the way, this place is an amazing place to be staying during the time here, it is just outside the Colonnades of St Peter’s and from the Terrace on the fourth floor we can see right down into the Square – where there are thousands and thousands of pilgrims and tourists.
The Synod formally starts tomorrow, but this evening we are all invited to a Vigil of Prayer with Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square. I wandered over to the Basilica early this morning and there is great activity as they get the Piazza ready for this evening and then inside the Basilica they are preparing for tomorrow’s Opening Mass.
Everywhere I have been in the last day or so and everyone I speak to says that we must pray for the outcome of the Synod. The great thing is that people recognise that there will be tensions and disagreements, but all are also saying that Pope Francis wants everyone to have the opportunity to speak out and that all views are to be listened to and respected.
While in the Basilica this morning I went and prayed at the tombs of Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II. I decided that they would be the Saints I pray to in a special way for this Synod along with Catherine of Sienna, for whom I have a special devotion.
Please keep up your prayers for this important time in the life of the Church.