The Synod of the small seed

The Synod of the small seed


The text of sr. Simona Brambilla, MC, Secretary of the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, published in the UISG Bulletin 183/2024.


The appearance of the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican is that of a large dining-room. The round  tables are arranged around the Word and the icon of the Mother, the Salus populi Romani, who, as at Cana, with concern and discretion watches over the course of the banquet, guarding the communion, the joy, and the feast. Seated at the table of the Word, which echoes in the Scriptures and in the voice of the other, are more than 400 people coming from the 5 continents and from all walks of life in the Church – cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, lay men and women – who are all united by what profoundly makes them brothers and sisters, beyond ever role, title, function, service, or responsability: the Baptism, immersion in Christ, the call to be a Christian! This is my recollection of the first session of the XVI Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that took  place from 4 to 28 October 2023.


I was blessed to to be able to participate. Completely unexpected, this blessing was  something that I gradually came to understand in its dimension of novelty, of benediction, and of light as the work of the synod went forward. The ecumenical prayer vigil “Together” that took place in St. Peter’s Square on 30 September, the days of spiritual retreat at Sacrofano from the evening 30 September to the evening of 3 October, the eucharistic celebrations in St. Peter’s Basilica at the start of the Assembly, at the opening of every new thematic module and at the conclusion of work, the daily liturgy with its refined simplicity, the atmosphere of prayer, respect, and cordial reception, the dialogue marked by “conversation in the Spirit”, with its spaces of silence, reverent listening to the other, and personal meditation – all of these things favoured reciprocal recognition, freedom of expression, reflection, and the re-elaboration of one’s life and thoughts, which were touched, illuminated, and elicited by the life and thoughts of the other. This made possible the development of a process of insight that progressively led the Assembly to identify points of agreement, questions to face, and proposals that were approved by a very wide majority and accepted in the Concluding Statement.

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