The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) encouraged the faithful to “pray seriously” for the upcoming Synod of Bishops and the whole idea of becoming a “synodal” Church.
Speaking during Mass at the Antipolo Cathedral on Wednesday evening, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, CBCP President, asked for prayers so that the synod “will become a new Pentecost event for the universal Church”.
“We pray, therefore, that the coming synod may become an opportunity for genuine renewal among our laity, religious and ordained ministers, so that we can grow together in greater synodality into a more participatory Church,” David said.
The CBCP head made the call on May 31, the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Mother, as he led a day of prayer for the Synod of Synodality in the Vatican that will take place in two sessions: in October 2023 and October 2024.
The religious activity was in response to the call of Pope Francis for Marian shrines across the world to pray for the Church’s entire synodal process.
Some 25 other shrines and minor basilicas across the country joined the global prayer movement to entrust the work of the synod to the protection of the Virgin Mary.
In his homily, David reflected on the theme of the synod — “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission”, which he summarized into a slogan, “Like Mary, we are blessed to be a blessing”.
“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,” he said.
“We have no other blessing to share to the world except the blessing that we ourselves have received—Jesus Christ, in whose life and mission we have been called to participate.”
“We cannot bring Christ to the world unless we are united with him, unless we remain in him like branches to a vine,” David added.
The Mass was concelebrated by CBCP Vice President Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara of Pasig, Bishop Buenaventura Famadico of San Pablo, and Bishop Francisco de Leon, now the apostolic administrator of Antipolo.
In Cebu, Archbishop Jose Palma underscored that “in order for us to be able to journey together and listen to each other, we must learn how to listen to God”.
“If we know how to listen to God, we know how and what to speak,” Palma said during Mass at the National Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Regla in Lapu-Lapu City.