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SynodWatch RoundUP for Oct. 12: The Power of Prayer; Healing for Isolation; We are Supported Here

Today’s press briefing was shortened because the synod participants will be participating in a pilrimage to St. Domitilla and other holy places.  According to Paolo Ruffini, the small groups have finished their reports on Communion and are sending them to the synod officials.  And tomorrow the new module will begin, B2, Co-responsibility in Mission in the Church.

Today, three people joined the press briefing.  Margaret Karrem president of the Focolare Movement, Archbishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya of Bamenda, Cameroon, who is also the president of the country’s Bishops’ conference, and Sister Caroline Jarjis, a doctor at the Baghdad health centre and a religious of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sheila Pires reported that there were 334 members present yesterday.  There were 36 interventions at the assembly.  They worked on B1 to B5.  Regarding interreligious and intercultural dialogue, there was a call to strengthen this work.  There was also a call for working to undo the impact of colonialism.

The Power of Prayer

Margaret Karram, president of the Focolare Movement, an Arab Catholic of Israeli and Palestinian origin spoke first.

She told journalists that the prayer of supplication on Thursday morning at the Synod was “a very strong moment”, because “ever since the war broke out, my heart has been broken and I wondered what I was doing here at the Synod. Joining in prayer with everyone was a very profound moment.”

According to Margaret Karram, many efforts are needed for peace, but “the power of prayer is crucial”.

And perhaps I could do something better or different to promote peace. So the first thing was for me to unite myself in prayer,and share the words of the Pope. So I thought it was good that we are all convened here in at the Synod.  Representatives from all the whole world and from all continents, and that we could truly devote a moment, albeit short, of deep prayer to God, asking for peace altogether.

So it was a very deep moment because I believe that we can do many things to promote peace, but I also believe in the power of prayer. And I was really struck by the fact that today’s gospel talked about this precisely. Knock on the door and it will be opened. Ask and you will be answered. So I felt that this faith should grow and also the faith of my people in believing even more in the power of prayer. And I thought that even being here at the synod is not in contradiction with the principles of my life.  My life living for peace, because these days, experience is teaching me what it means to journey together. It’s not easy to listen to the others and understand them. Having a dialogue allow you to be questioned by the others. And over these past few days, I made this deep reflection if what we are learning here at the synod for a whole month, if we manage to do this altogether amongst us. And if we, allow this lifestyle to become not just a methodology, but a lifestyle precisely for the church. And if we can bring this to many other contexts at the social political level in listening to the other, with respect beyond our diversity differences, different opinions.  Well, I think that this could truly help us also at a higher level in terms of being able to build bridges for peace. 

Healing for Isolation

Archbishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya of Bamenda, Cameroon spoke next.

I think this synod is a very big consolation to Africa because with the problems we have in Africa, sometimes we feel isolated and abandoned. But coming to the synod we join with the rest of the universal church to sit down and pray together for the problems that are going on in Africa, and especially for the countries that are affected by war. This for us, is a very, very big consolation. Secondly, the synod gives a chance for the voice of Africa to be heard.  Africa has its own specificities and their own peculiarities. And when we come together to the, in the universal church, in a synod journey like this one, it is an opportunity for Africa’s voice to be heard and to be heard where it is supposed to be heard. We are not worried about social media or about what others are saying, but we are with our brothers and sisters.  We feel the unity that binds the church together. And there we are able to express ourselves freely and happily. And I think that this is a very wonderful opportunity for Africa to make its own mark within the synod.  And for this, I am very, very grateful. The last point is that we have learned from what is happening in the continent. The wars that are  going on Ukraine, Palestine, and Israel and other places, we all have to be pro-peace. War can never be the solution. We all have to be pro-peace and join together as one church, God’s children, united praying for peace. Peace is possible.

When someone asked him about synodality he said it is already happening in his region.

Synodality forms part of the African culture, because we always do things together as a family. And when we do things as a family, we consult everybody within the family. And, in the local churches, which we have, we believe strongly in the basic Christian communities because in those basic Christian communities, everybody is able to express themselves.

We are supported here

Finally, Sister Caroline Jarjis, a doctor at the Baghdad health centre and a religious of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus read the Gospel in Arabic at the synod gathering.  She spoke about her experience.

The experiences that we will take home from this assembly, it’s not just a document, an official report, but it’s rather a strong Christian experience similar to that of the early Christians who were sharing everything, their sufferings, well, the suffering that we hear, the, the wealth, the richness that comes from the words of the others. So I can say that this is my experience. I have come from a country, where it’s a Christian minority.  We have suffered all our life. Unfortunately, this is a steady element in our lives. But I still have hope, hope for our church, even though we are a minority in my country. Still our church is rich, because we have so many martyrs, their blood give us strength to go on. And today I am, I am bringing this strength here, and I will go home with even greater strength because there is a universal church behind me that supports me. And I will bring this all back to my own community, to my Christian people. And also I will bring this back to the other people. I will bring this experience to share it also with the other religions. I come from Baghdad and I will share it with them.