300 parish priests to participate in Vatican synod meeting, meet with pope
By Justin McLellan, CNS – Three hundred parish priests from all over the world will come to Rome and make their contribution to the ongoing Synod of Bishops on synodality by sharing their experiences of parish life, the Vatican said.
The priests, selected by bishops’ conferences and Eastern Catholic churches, also will have the chance to dialogue with Pope Francis during the April 28-May 2 meeting.
A statement released Feb. 3 by the General Secretariat of the Synod said the initiative responds to the outcomes from the first assembly of the Synod of Bishops on synodality held at the Vatican last October, which highlighted in its synthesis report the need to “develop ways for a more active involvement of deacons, priests and bishops in the synodal process during the coming year.”
Pope Francis launched the synod process in October 2021, seeking input from all baptised Catholics on building a listening church. After the local, national and continental phases of the synod, more than 400 people participated in its universal phase at the first synod assembly held at the Vatican in October 2023; 370 participants were eligible to vote in synod proceedings, of which 70 were non-bishops. The second synod assembly will take place in October 2024.
The Vatican statement said the 300 priests selected for the meeting will be involved in “roundtables for the sharing of best practices, workshops around pastoral proposals, dialogue with experts and liturgical celebrations.” The results of the meeting will then be incorporated into the working document drafted ahead of the second synod assembly.
The meeting is also an opportunity for parish priests to “experience the dynamism of synodal work at a universal level,” the Vatican statement added.
Participants will gather at a retreat centre in Sacrofano, near Rome, where synod assembly members also had a spiritual retreat prior to the opening of the first synod assembly.
The number of priests participating from each country or Eastern church will correspond to the size of the bishops’ conference or Eastern church they are representing, the Vatican said.
The conferences and churches were asked to select priests who have “significant experience in the perspective of a synodal church” and represent a diversity of pastoral realities, such as ministering in rural, urban or specific social and cultural contexts. The names of selected priests are to be communicated to the Vatican by March 15.
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