Pope Francis leads the opening Mass of the first session of “Synod on Synodality,” a three-week gathering of more than 400 delegates tackling the governance and teaching of the Church, on Wednesday, Oct. 4. (Photo grabbed from EWTN’s YouTube channel)

THE “Synod on Synodality” has been assembled to follow Jesus’s vision of a united and inclusive Church, Pope Francis declared at the opening Mass of the synod on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.

More than 400 delegates from around the world are gathered at the Vatican from Oct. 4 to 29 to tackle the governance and teaching of the Church.

“[T]his is the primary task of the Synod: To refocus our gaze on God, to be a Church that looks mercifully at humanity,” the pontiff said in his homily, according to a transcript provided by American Magazine. “A Church that is united and fraternal, that listens and dialogues.”

“A Church that has God at its center and, therefore, is not divided internally and is never harsh externally. This is how Jesus wants the Church, his Bride, to be,” he added.

Asserting that the synod is not a parliamentary meeting, Francis urged participants to follow Jesus’s “gaze” throughout the three-week session.

“We are here to walk together with the gaze of Jesus, who blesses the Father and welcomes those who are weary and oppressed,” he said.

The opening Mass took place on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, a figure whom the Pope lauded as “an exemplar of peace and fraternity.”

The first of two sessions will likely cover issues such as ordaining female deacons, blessing gay couples and extending the sacrament to divorcees. The second session will take place in October 2024. Sheila May S. Balagan


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