Vatican synod chief to bishops, priests: ’Synodality tells us that we are not alone’

Vatican synod chief to bishops, priests: ’Synodality tells us that we are not alone’

Cardinal Mario Grech, General Secretary of the Synod on Synodality, delivers his keynote address during the 10th Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE) at the University of Santo Tomas, Jan. 19, 2024. ROY LAGARDE

By Roy Lagarde

January 19, 2024

Manila, Philippines

Recognizing the challenges faced by bishops and priests, a Vatican official said on Friday that synodality is a “gift” to them in fulfilling their ministry.

Cardinal Mario Grech, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, said it’s a gift in a sense that priests have a way to collaborate with others.

“At times we are alone and we have to shoulder our responsibilities alone,” Grech told TV Maria. “But synodality is telling us, ‘No, you are not alone.’ Make space for others, walk with others, listen to others”.

“If we priests learn the beauty of synodality, we will be in a better position and we will really enjoy and live our priesthood joyfully,” he said.

Grech said that if church leaders are able to foster a sense of “family” in parishes and dioceses, “we will be able to fulfill the command of Jesus to proclaim the Gospel to the world.”

“We have to respect the ministries and charisms of each other. We can learn from one another,” he said.

The cardinal was the keynote speaker of the three-day Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE) at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.

As the pointman for the current synod on synodality, a cornerstone of Pope Francis’ papacy, Grech is seen as a torchbearer of the pope’s vision for the Church.

The first of the two synods was held in October 2023 in the Vatican, with 363 voting participants from around the world.

For the first time, laypeople, including 54 women, had voting rights. More than a quarter of the voting members were not bishops.

Grech said this current setup provides the Church “a space and acknowledges the beauty and richness of the holy people of God.”

“It gives us a slot where we can really share with one another this beauty, this goodness that comes from the Holy Spirit not only for my or your good but for the good of the Church and humanity,” he added.

“I think synodality is not only a gift for the Church, but hopefully a gift for society at large,” Grech also said.

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