Islamabad (Agenzia Fides) - "We Church in Pakistan express our feelings of joy for the Synod announced by the Pope in 2023. As Bishops of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Pakistan (PCBC) we invite all the faithful to participate in the synodal journey of consultation with zeal and dedication. In order for there to be true communion within the Church, everyone is called to participate, each according to his or her function. It is a process of discernment, with the help of the Holy Spirit, which involves Catholic Bishops, priests, religious, nuns and laity, each according to the gifts and charisma of their own vocation", is what Archbishop Joseph Arshad says, President of the PCBC in a message sent to all Pakistani faithful and sent to Fides said.
The Prelate, at the head of the Catholic diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, also states: "This is an exciting moment for the whole Church, including the Church in Pakistan. Our dioceses will soon join dioceses around the world in organizing listening sessions for various communities and special groups". The Archbishop adds: "In the coming weeks more information will be shared with diocesan leaders, pastors, animators and parish leaders. This is, for all Catholics in Pakistan, an invaluable opportunity to share their reflections; in this way we humbly learn together how we, the People of God, build communion with one another and carry out our mission in the world".
The Archbishop informs: "The diocesan phase will be characterized by a consultation among the faithful that will discuss a preparatory document and a questionnaire that the Synodal Secretariat of Rome has sent to the local Churches. Once the diocesan consultations are concluded, the members of the Bishops' Conference of Pakistan will have a period of discernment to listen to what the Spirit has inspired in the churches entrusted to them.
"Archbishop Joseph Arshad in his message to the faithful in Pakistan concludes: "We ask the Holy Spirit to guide us all together on our synodal journey". A summary of this path of reflection will be sent to the Secretariat of the Synod in the Vatican by April 2022. The "continental" reflections are also planned between April 2022 and March 2023.
Pope Francis has convened the XVI Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme "For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission". In October 2021 the synodal journey of the whole People of God begins. Pope Francis will formally inaugurate this synodal journey in the Vatican on October 9-10 and the Bishops from all over the world will open the synodal process in their respective dioceses on October 17. The process will culminate in October 2023 with the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome. (AG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 27/9/2021)