Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi
Opening of the Synod on Synodality
Today four hundred delegates will enter Saint Peter’s Basilica to pray to the Holy Spirit for this historic Synod on Solidarity. These women and men represent the people of every nation. They are charged with studying, praying, talking, and walking together as they explore the implications of the Instrumentum Laboris (Working Document), which offers the hopes, sorrows, frustrations, and dreams of millions of people around the globe who chose to be involved in the listening sessions two years ago. This question is set before them: ”What sort of Church is best capable of putting the Gospel into practice in the modern world, and how may the Church revise its structures to accomplish this mission.”
The choice of the Feast of Saint Francis as the opening date of this synod was not haphazard. Pope Francis sent a clear message as to the orientation of his papacy when he selected the name of this saint as his own. He issued his encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti,” on Francis’ feast day in Assisi. His encyclical “Laudate Sí” draws heavily from Saint Francis’ love of creation in all its manifestations.
Pope Francis’ papacy has been geared to this moment in many ways. He has tried to replace the hierarchical model of the Church with a more inclusive model based on our unity in Baptism, which is all Christians’ fundamental and communal relationship. Despite his efforts, the hierarchical model remained strong throughout his ten-year papacy as he tried to retrieve the Vatican Council and bring the vision of Francis as a man who found the Gospel his only guide.
Let us pray with great hope to the Holy Spirit that the presence of the Paraclete will inspire all participants in this synod to truly “walk together in synodality.”
Let Us Pray:
Holy Spirit, you came to enflame the Church and to guide it. You have done so throughout the ages. Send down an abundance of your grace on the synod participants that they, like Francis of Assisi, will find their only inspiration in Jesus Christ and his Gospels. Amen.