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Philippines: Bishops’ conference head says Synod on Synodality calls faithful to become “blessings to the world”

Bishop Pablo Virgilio Siongco David of Kalookan, who was elected president of the Filipino bishops' conference July 8, speaks in Manila Sept. 1, 2019. Credit: Gerard Carreon for

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president said that the core spirit of the coming Synod on Synodality in Rome is a gentle call for the faithful to “be blessed in order to be a blessing to the world.”

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, also Bishop of the Diocese of Kalookan, said that every single Catholic is called to participate in the mission to share Christ with all in his homily on Wednesday at the International Shrine of Our Lady of Antipolo in Rizal province.

May 31 of this year was designated as a day of prayer for the coming Synod on Synodality upon the request of Pope Francis. In the Philippines, 26 Marian shrines across the country simultaneously held religious gatherings in response to the Holy Father’s plea.

Reflecting on the day’s feast, the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bishop David emphasized that the Blessed Mother was blessed “so that through her, God can bless the whole world.”

“In a nutshell, this is also what the mission of the Church is about to be blessed in order to be a blessing to the world,” said the bishop.

The prelate also said that for the Church to become truly “Synodal,” it requires everyone’s participation in the call of apostleship and communion with Christ Himself.

“We say that in the Nicene creed: we believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church,” the bishop pointed out. “Apostleship is about the mission, and mission is not just the work of the Bishops, it’s the work of the whole Church—clergy, religious, and laity together.”

“Discipleship is about becoming followers of Christ. Apostleship is about being sent to represent Christ in the world. We are not yet really an “apostolic church” until we have become a community of disciples in mission,” he said.

Furthermore, Bishop David hopes the coming Synod will become a way for the laity, religious, and ordained people to experience renewal, paving the path toward a greater Synodality and a more participatory Church.

The first part of the Synod on Synodality will take place in October 2023. The second part will follow a year later, in October 2024.

You may read the entirety of Bishop David’s homily here.- Luke Godoy


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