Just Gospel: Pope’s Intention for Community of Solidarity

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

October 16, 2022

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy reflects on Pope Francis’ October pray intention that the Church be a Community of Solidarity.

During this month containing the Feast of St. Francis, Pope Francis brings us an intention that echoes Franciscan faithfulness to the Gospel, zeal in preaching this same Gospel and a strong value of community. The Holy Father’s prayer request reads: For the church; ever faithful to, and courageous in preaching the Gospel, may the church be a community of solidarity, fraternity and welcome, always living in an atmosphere of synodality.

Synodality…synod…synodal. These are terms that are in the air these days. What do they really mean for us? The Commission on Spirituality Sub-Group: Spirituality for Synodality (of which our Sister Marie Kolbe Zamora is a member) has written a paper which will enlighten us on many topics relating to the synod. They offer thoughts on central themes for a spirituality of synodality, practices that will help to develop a synodal disposition, as well as a reflection on Mary as a model of synodality.

This article states, “Synodality is not a new element of the Church’s life and self-understanding. It is constitutive of the Church and has been present in many forms since its beginning. Synodality is a way to express who we are as Christians and who we are becoming together as Church through the work of the Holy Spirit.” This concept of synodality as connected with growth as one Body, one Church fits well with our partnering with Eucharistic themes.

St. Thomas Aquinas included the phrase, . . . May our worship of this sacrament of your body and blood . . . in his prayer honoring the Eucharist. This part of the prayer brings forward our unwavering belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharistic elements. We may also note that Aquinas uses the word our. He speaks of our faith community, of the many parts making up the one Body of Christ. We all share this belief in who we receive. This oneness is necessarily a part of a synodal approach to Church.

Pope Francis, in a 2019 address says: It is not enough to have a synod; you must be a synod. The Church needs intense internal sharing: a living dialogue between the Pastors and between the Pastors and the faithful. So, let us pray that the Church grows as a welcoming community worshipping Jesus who comes to us in the forms of bread and wine; who comes to us in the Gospel proclaimed; who comes to us in the living synod that is the Church

Article Comments:

Fr. Placid Stroik, OFM 10/17/2022 @ 9:20 pm

be a synod is to know what a synod is. thanks this invitation..


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