Fr Leonard E Dollentas
On Saturday, October 16, 2021, the Diocese of Macao joined the dioceses throughout the world in preparing for the Synod of Bishops 2023. Pope Francis has challenged the Church to “journey together” as one Church. The Holy Mass, celebrated by Bishop Stephen Lee and the clergy of the Diocese, marked the commencement of local participation of the Diocese of Macao in the two-year journey towards the 2023 Synod of Bishops.
This event was highlighted in the Vatican when Pope Francis celebrated a Mass to launch the global process for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which has the theme “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.”
In his homily, the Holy Father said that “Celebrating a Synod means walking on the same road, together.” That path of walking together will see dioceses conduct local consultations to gather reports that will help shape preparations for the Synod of Bishops, including the drafting of its instrumentum laboris or working document.
In other areas of the world, and for other regions there will also be regional consultations for episcopal conferences, with bishops to meet with members of their regions and bishops’ conferences to prepare for the 2023 gathering in Rome.
The Diocese of Macau is an immediate subject of the Holy See and not part of any ecclesiastical province. Having such status, it celebrated the synodal event in unity with the whole church using special prayers and readings to mark the Synod’s launch.
In this event, unity is visibly highlighted in the diocese during the Mass. Having a number of faithful from different cultures and countries of origin, the synodal launching celebration is itself a moment of unity and would show the faithful the importance of the Synod for the Catholic Church around the world and their communion in prayer with all participants.
Before the Mass, a missionary who has been in Macau for a long time said, “This will be an important event in the church and in the Diocese of Macau. This event will provide every opportunity for the Church to be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, in this special year of St Joseph to join in one heart and voice in the Mass that will be celebrated internationally.”
After the Mass, another missionary said, “The Mass was indeed inspiring. The texts used in the celebration, and the celebration itself helped the people of God to call upon the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and guidance for the whole Church.”
May our journey toward the Synod inspire us to join with our sisters and brothers, with Pope Francis and the entire Church, on this global journey towards a Christ-centered Church that is focused on communion, participation, and mission.
(Photos by Ivan Leong)