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Pope Francis on Opening of Synod: “Be a Church that looks mercifully at humanity”

Pope Francis at the Synod of Bishops

“Be a church that looks mercifully at humanity.” These are the words of Pope Francis during the opening mass of the Synod of Bishops that began on October 4, 2023 in the Vatican.

He reminded the delegates of the primary task of the synod, he said “This is the primary task of the synod: to refocus our gaze on God, to be a church that looks mercifully at humanity,”

The first part of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops started on October 4, 2023 and will end on October 29.

“A church that is united and fraternal, that listens and dialogues; a church that blesses and encourages, that helps those who seek the Lord, that lovingly stirs up the indifferent, that opens paths in order to draw people into the beauty of faith. A church that has God at its center and, therefore, is not divided internally and is never harsh externally,” he continued.

The proceeding of the Synod is held at the Paul VI Hall and is presided over by Pope Francis and attended by 363 people who have voting rights in the Synod including the 120 bishops whom Pope Francis personally chose.

The synod is a historic milestone in the Catholic Church as there are laypeople who will have the full voting capacity as delegates at a Catholic Church synod for the first time.

Augustinian bishops in the Synod

From the 120 bishops, four Bishops and one cardinal of the Order of Saint Augustine are joining the first part.

They are 1. Bishop Donatus Aihmiosion Ogun, OSA, of Uromi of Nigeria, 2. Bishop Edinson Edgardo Farfán Córdova, OSA, Bishop Prelate of Chuquibambilla of Peru, 3. Archbishop Robert Francis Cardinal Prevost, OSA, prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, 4. Bishop Lizardo Estrada Herrera, OSA, auxiliary bishop of Cuzco, Peru, titular bishop of Ausuccura, secretary general of the Latin American bishops’ Conference (CELAM), and 5. Bishop Luis Marín De San Martín, OSA, Titular Bishop of Suliana, One of the under-secretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod.

The Province offers our prayers to the Holy Spirit to guide the delegates in these month-long proceedings of the Synod of Bishops that will decide the future of the Catholic Church in the years to come.

As Pope Francis said, the Holy Spirit is the protagonist of the Synod that leads the Church forth.

Augustinians at Synod of Bishops
In the photo, from left to right: Bishop Edinson Farfán, O.S.A., Prelate of Chuquibambilla (Peru); Bishop Alberto Bochatey, O.S.A., Auxiliary Bishop of La Plata (Argentina); Bishop Antonio Santarsiero, O.I., Bishop of Huacho (Peru); Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos, O.F.M., Archbishop of Trujillo (Peru); Cardinal Robert Prevost, O.S.A.; Bishop Lizardo Estrada, O.S.A., Auxiliary Bishop of Cusco (Peru) and Secretary-General of CELAM; Bishop Luis Marín de San Martín, O.S.A., Sub-Secretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod.


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