A new Pentecost for the Church: PNG and Solomon Islands representative recalls Synod on New Evangelization
By Bishop Otto Separy
As the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City started ringing on the beautiful sunshine of Sunday morning 11th October 2012, they echoed a significant spiritual message throughout the Christian world. It was a call for the celebration of the Holy Mass at St. Peter’s Square to be presided by Pope Benedict XVI for the opening of the Synod on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith, which would take place in the following three weeks (Oct. 11-28).
Pope Benedict XVI had earlier invited Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops from all over the world as members of the Synod elected by the respective Episcopal Conferences. I was the representative for Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. The Pontiff had also extended his invitation to some more Catholic Bishops of his personal choice, to the members of some Religious Orders, to lay people representing the youth, the women, the families and the professions; and more significantly to the fraternal delegates of the Christian Orthodox and Protestant Churches. Furthermore, the Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops heading the different Departments of the Roman Curia were also present. The Pope himself also found time to attend some sessions at the Synod Hall. He prayed with the participants and imparted his apostolic blessing.
The purpose of the Synod was to discuss and find ways and means for a new pastoral approach to the challenges of secularism, materialism, globalization and other factors that are making people losing their Catholic faith and fail to be true witnesses of Jesus Christ and his Church in the modern world. Pope Benedict XVI, repeating the same vision of his Predecessor, Pope John Paul II, frequently called for a new “ardor” and a new approach to the task of evangelization. From his Pontificate inaugural Mass on the 24th of April 2005, he insisted that, ‘’the Church as a whole and all her Pastors, like Christ, must set out to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God, towards the One who gives us life, and life in abundance”.
By the end of the Synod, 58 Propositions have been drafted from interventions, discussions and adjustments both at the Synod Hall and at different working groups. These Propositions will be summarized by the Pope into a document that will lead and direct future evangelizers in dioceses, parishes and communities in order to bring about a “new Pentecost” for the Church.
The Synod formally concluded with a solemn Mass at St. Peter’s basilica on Sunday, 28th October. (CBC Communications 20121029 – firstname.lastname@example.org)