Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا abouna.org
With a new dynamism, the sessions of the first day of the Continental Synodal Assembly of the Catholic Churches of the Middle East kicked off in Beit 'Anya, Harissa, Lebanon which runs on 13-18 February. It is chaired by Catholic Patriarchs of the East, namely Head of the Council of Eastern Catholic Patriarchs Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Al-Rahi, Patriarch of Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius III Yonan, Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church Youssef Absi, Chaldean Patriarch Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, Patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church Raphael Bedros XXI Minassian, and Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa.
This Continental Synodal Assembly of the Catholic Churches of the Middle East takes place a year-and-a-half after the inauguration of the Synodal track in which millions of the members of the Catholic Church around the world took part in its first consultative phase, while today it moves to its second continental phase. This is based on the request by His Holiness Pope Francis to members of the Catholic Church in the world to “review their Christian lives as well as to “walk together” in the light of the Holy Gospel and the requirements of the present time in preparation for the Synod that will be held in the Vatican City in October 2023 and 2024, titled: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission”.
After the opening session, sessions of prayer and spiritual dialogue were held that concluded with emphasizing three steps of walking together. Firstly: Setting out together in procession and prayer with an emphasis on the power of the Word that erected the tent among us and walks with us and in our midst. Secondly: Instructions that emphasized the importance of listening to each other and to the Word of God, because the synodal church is a listening church. It is also focused on getting to know each other, living the experience of brotherhood, breaking formalities, and engaging in the Synod as if we were the Church of God in this region with its rich diversity, difficulties and disasters. As for the third step, it involves the start of the synodal dream, which stems from getting engaged within the unified national context and in light of the challenges in the life of Churches, of the societal and ecumenical challenges, and of the relationship with followers of other religions.
The first day involved a solemn Mass celebrated by Patriarch of the East Cardinal Bechara Al-Rahi during which he delivered a homily titled, "Why are you so afraid? Why you have no faith?"