The Synod on Synodality is now at the continental stage and elaborate plans have been made to hold the event in seven locations in each of the continents. The Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences (FABC) has scheduled February 24-27 for holding the continental assembly at Baan Phu Waan Pastoral Training Centre, Bangkok, Thailand.
The continental level study is based on the 50-page document issued by the Synodal secretariate last October titled “Enlarge the Space of your Tent”. This docu,ment has been studied by episcopal conferences and synodal commissions prior to the continental assemblies. The seven locations chosen to hold the continental assemblies are: Bangkok for Asia, Prague for Europe, Bogota for Latin America, Suva for Oceania, Orlando for US and Canada, Addis Ababa for Africa, and Beirut for the Middle East. All the seven assemblies are expected to conclude by the end of March. The documents that will be drafted by these assemblies will form the basis for the working document for the October 2023 session of the Synod in Rome.
Each continental episcopal conference has worked out detailed plans to ensure that adequate representation is given to all sections of the Church- youth, laity, men and women religious and priests and bishops. In some continents like Latin America, the continental assembly will be preceded by consultations in several countries. Plans are on to invite fraternal delegates from other Churches to some of the meetings. Some of the assemblies will also have online sessions to involve more participants. Each of the continents will also address concerns and challenges specific to the continent. The Latin American Conference (CELAM) for instance has prepared an ABC of issues to be taken up for discussion when they meet.
In an effort to ensure that the event is not a consultation, but a prayerful listening to the Holy Spirit, the organizers have planned to have Eucharistic celebrations and various liturgical events and moments of silent prayer.
The head of Communications in the Synod Secretariat Dr Thierry Bonaventura said Cardinal Mario Gregh, Secretary General of the Synod, will release a video message for the continental assemblies. He said the synod is an open, transparent, and participatory process involving the People of God. The continental assemblies will provide occasion for the media to interact with the participants and organizers of the assemblies.
Fr George Plathottam sdb, Executive Secretary, FABC OSC