Pope Francis invites us to embrace listening and dialogue through the Synod: “To involve everyone, without excluding anyone”
The Pope Video for October, an initiative of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network is about to be released. Its message is focused on the Synod on Synodality, a process that began in 2021 and will continue through 2024. The First Session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly will take place from the 4th to the 29th of October 2023. “This is a journey we are on, like the disciples of Emmaus,” the Pope explains, “listening to the Lord who always comes to meet us.” In addition, during this month, the Church celebrates the 97th World Mission Day, a celebration that fits into the synodal dynamic: “Mission is at the heart of the Church. And even more when a Church is in Synod. This synodal dynamic alone carries its missionary vocation forward,” Pope Francis also says in the video.
The message for this month’s video – which received the support and collaboration of the The Pontifical Mission Societies USA and on the Synod on Synodality – is an invitation to place ourselves before the Lord in an attitude of listening and dialogue. The concept of the Church as “on the way,” and its missionary vocation is represented in the choice of images put together as a road movie: through an automobile window, we see places and people from different countries – from the Vatican to Cambodia, passing through Africa, the Middle East, North America – capturing scenes from daily life. That car represents the Church; its gas, the “power of the Holy Spirit,” which, in the words of Pope Francis, must lead the Church “towards the world’s peripheries.”
Letting herself be guided by the Holy Spirit requires listening together. For this reason, the Pope also clarifies that in this Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod, “nothing ends here. Rather, we are continuing an ecclesial journey here,” so as to reap the fruits of mutual listening between brothers and sisters, everyone together at the service of Christ’s mission. Pope Francis uses the example of the disciples on the way to Emmaus and asks us to be like them, “listening to the Lord who always comes to meet us.”