About 50 participants from all over the world met in Frascati at the John XXIII Center to listen, talk and recognize the synodal syntheses created as a result of consultations with the people of God. Using the method of spiritual conversation, in twelve days of work, the “experts” wrote the Document for the continental stage. At the end of the meeting, Pope Francis met with the participants in a private audience.

“We come to you at the end of a unique and unusual church experience, which made us understand the richness of the fruits that the Spirit awakens in God’s holy people. We truly feel a sense of awe at the miracles that God is doing in His Church! … After so many days of sitting in order to better realize a long and patient listening to the voices of God’s people, returning to walk with our brothers and sisters is a repeated joy. We will, each in that part of God’s people with whom we walk, witness the miracles that the Lord does. We will be able to say that the Church offers itself as a home for everyone, because the experience of synodality that we live leads us to “enlarge the space of the tent” (cf. Is 54, 2) in order to truly welcome everyone.

Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod, greeted Pope Francis with these words during the private audience that the Holy Father gave to the participants on Sunday, October 2, in the afternoon. The meeting with the Pontiff, which took place in an atmosphere of great brotherhood, took place at the end of twelve days of work, during which a group of “experts” developed a draft document that will be offered to the people of God for recognition for the second stage of the synodal process in 2021-2023.

At the center of the work were 112 syntheses of the Conferences of Bishops (out of 114), as well as congregations of the Eastern Catholic Churches, Congregations, Church Associations and Movements, Vatican Dicasteries and separate reports that reached the General Secretariat of the Synod. An unprecedented response from local churches!

In Frascati, the participants tried to realize the recognition of the community by the method of spiritual conversation, which many groups experienced in the first stage of the synodal process. During hearings and dialogue, plenary sessions or working groups depending on geographical affiliation, ecclesiastical status or gender, the participants first identified these generative tensions as they appeared in syntheses, and then came to the actual development of the document, from the first and then the second draft, cross-readings, discussions and corrections. Special attention was paid to the spiritual preparation of the participants and to the liturgy with the celebration of daily Mass and various moments of prayer to open and accompany the process. The meeting, coordinated by Father Giacomo Costa SJ, member of the Coordination Committee of the Synod Secretariat, was jointly chaired by Cardinal Mario Grech and Cardinal Jean-Claude Hallerich, General Speaker of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

On September 30, members of the XV Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops joined this editorial team, which consists of men and women, bishops, priests, religious and laity. The recognition made, both in terms of the large number of participants and the methods adopted, is a unicum for the General Secretariat of the Synod.

The document for the continental phase, prepared simultaneously in Italian and English, was approved by the Council and handed over to the Holy Father. It will be promulgated in mid-October and simultaneously sent to all bishops as an act of restitution to the people of God.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

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