Asian churches to hold continental gathering on synodality

Churches across the world will join continental assemblies in seven locations before the Synod in Rome in October.

Jan 27, 2023

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tangle, the prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples is seen with participants during the closing ceremony of the golden jubilee of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences in Bangkok in October last year. (Photo: FABC)

Asian Church leaders and delegates will gather in the Thai capital Bangkok for a continent-level assembly on the Synod on Synodality in the final week of February, says an official press release.

“The Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences (FABC) has scheduled February 24-27 for holding the continental assembly at Baan Phu Waan Pastoral Training Center, Bangkok, Thailand,” reads the release from Salesian Father George Plathottam, executive secretary of the FABC’s Office of Social Communication (FABC-OSC).

The gathering has been planned as per instructions from the Vatican which wants synodal consultations to be held from the parish, diocese, national and continental levels before the church leaders meet in Rome for the Synod on Synodality on October 4-29, 2023 for the first part and in October 2024 for the second one.

Churches across the world have completed the synodal talks up to national levels. At the continental stage, the assemblies will be held in seven locations on each of the continents -- Bangkok for Asia, Prague for Europe, Bogota for Latin America, Suva for Oceania, Orlando for the US and Canada, Addis Ababa for Africa, and Beirut for the Middle East.

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 document has been studied by episcopal conferences and synodal commissions prior to the continental assemblies, says the FABC-OSC release.  

“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,” it stated.

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.  

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.”--ucanews

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