The European continental assembly for the third phase of the Synod on Synodality is taking place from 5-12 February. Two hundred delegates from throughout Europe gather in the Czech capital of Prague to discern the fruits of the synodal work at the local diocesan and national level.
The 200 delegates consist of 156 from the 39 European Bishops' Conferences, and 44 personally invited by the Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE).
The Assembly for Europe opened on Sunday evening with the celebration of Mass in the Church of the Premonstratensians in Strahov, presided over by the Archbishop of Prague, Jan Graubner.
The meeting is divided into two parts. In the first part, the delegates will outline the challenges and possibilities of the Synod. In the second part, from 11 to 12 February, the 39 presidents will evaluate the results of the discussions and to begin to set out the synthesis that will be sent to the General Secretariat of the Synod by March.
Third Stage of Continental Assemblies
The current synod dedicated to the theme “For a Synodal Church. Communion, participation, mission,” is envisaged in different stages. The third continental phase follows on the consultation in the local Churches (the Diocesan phase), the results of which were summed up at the national level (Episcopal Conference/Synods of Oriental Churches phase).
The third stage has been ongoing since the publication of the Working Document for the Continental Stage in October 2022. The continental Synodal Assemblies, which mark an integral part of this phase, are taking place in the coming weeks: for Oceania, the meetings began on Sunday, 5 February, in Suva, Fiji; with the Synodal Assembly for the Middle East, taking place from 12 to 18 February, in Beirut, Lebanon; for North America, from 13 to 17 February in Orlando, USA; for Asia, from 23 to 27 February, in Bangkok, Thailand; for Africa, from 1 to 6 March in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and for Latin America, from 17 to 23 March in Bogota, Colombia.
The examination of the Final Documents from the seven continental assemblies will lead to the Instrumentum laboris, which will be finalized by June 2023.
The working document for the continental stage
Gathering the fruit of discernment at the local level was drafted gathering the results of consultations at the local level and returned them to the local churches. The Working Document for the Continental Stage, provides a better understanding of how the local Churches are already “walking together.”
The Document was based on three questions: Which insights from the local consultations resonated most strongly; which issues should be addressed in the next stage; what priorities, recurring themes, and calls to action should be discussed in the First Session of the Synodal Assembly in October 2023.
The Assembly also intends to ensure that the whole People of God is represented: Bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, laymen and laywomen, with special consideration for women and young people. In addition to the list of on-site participants, there are also almost 400 online delegates.
- with inputs from Vatican news
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