Synod must serve God, says head of Asian bishops
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, FABC President, presides over the closing Mass of the Asian Continental Assembly on Synodality at the Baan Phu Waan Center of the Bangkok archdiocese on Feb. 26. HANDOUT/SYNOD BANGKOK 2023
By CBCP News
February 28, 2023
The work of the synod is more than meeting with oral presentations and written reports, but a means to further serve God’s mission, the head of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) said.
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, FABC President, reflected on this topic during his homily at the closing Mass of the Asian Continental Assembly on Synodality at the Baan Phu Waan Center of the Bangkok archdiocese on Feb. 26.
He stressed that walking together to bring about Church renewal would need the “transforming power of the Holy Spirit”.
“By ourselves, we cannot achieve anything but we need that transforming grace to make all this happen,” Cardinal Bo said.
“Recognising that we need the presence of the Holy Spirit, we then walk this synodal journey as we seek ‘to serve Him alone,” he said.
The cardinal, who is also the archbishop of Yangon, also noted that much of the “anxiety” on the synodal process is caused “by the uncertainty of whether the change will happen”.
“We must learn to entrust this journey to the Holy Spirit because it is only the Spirit that can give direction and definition to our witness, as a Church,” he pointed out.
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, CBCP President, speaks at a session during the Asian Continental Assembly on Synodality at the Baan Phu Waan Center of the Bangkok archdiocese on Feb. 26, 2023. HANDOUT/SYNOD BANGKOK 2023
The church leader also took a cue from “Lent” for the Church to lead toward true synodal conversion: L for letting go; E for encounter; N for neighborliness; and T for transformation.
“On this journey, may we embrace the attitudes of letting go, encountering, and neighborliness, and allow the transforming power of the Holy Spirit truly renew the face of the earth,” he said.
The three-day meeting brought together representatives from the 17 episcopal conferences, and two Synod of Bishops, representing the 29 countries of FABC.
The delegates include six cardinals, five archbishops, 18 bishops, 28 priests, four nuns, and 19 lay persons.
Also in attendance were Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, and Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, General Relator of the Synod on Synodality.
Cardinal Hollerich, in his address, emphasized that “we as Church are part of that humanity, and we are called to serve humanity”.
Saying that “we are living a change of epoch”, he said that synodality bringing community back in the heart of living together “is a service to this new era: not to forget togetherness, not to forget community”.
“And the Church of Asia has a lot to give to the world,” he said.
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