People following global progress towards the two assemblies of the Synod of Bishops for a Synodal Church are being invited to participate in Lenten prayers to support the ongoing journey.
The Synod’s General Secretariat has published Lenten resources in multiple languages for use around the world as the continental stage of the Synod continues.
Gatherings being held across the world in recent weeks have been finalising the responses from local bishops conferences to the Working Document for the Continental Stage, Enlarge the Space of Your Tent.
Bishops from around the Oceania region met in Suva in early February for their quadrennial assembly, at which they finalised their draft response to the working document.
Similar gatherings have been held in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as a gathering of Eastern Rite Catholics in the Middle East.
The continental responses will be shared with the Synod secretariat later this month to assist with the development of the working document, or instrumentum laboris, for the first assembly in Rome this October.
Sophy Morley, a member of Australia’s national Synod of Bishops committee, said the prayerful accompaniment of major Church events has been embraced in recent years.
“We saw during the lead-up to the two assemblies of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia that people appreciated the opportunity to join their prayers with a wider group for a shared purpose,” she said.
“The prayers that have been developed by the Synod secretariat are just some of the helpful resources that people can use through the remainder of Lent.”
The prayers include material to support small group reflections, as well as for Stations of the Cross.
The Pope’s Lenten message for 2023 also drew on the theme of synodality, with the title “Lenten Penance and the Synodal Journey.”
“The Lenten journey of penance and the journey of the Synod alike have as their goal a transfiguration, both personal and ecclesial,” the Pope’s message says.
Pope Francis conceded that “the synodal process may often seem arduous, and at times we may become discouraged”.
“Yet what awaits us at the end is undoubtedly something wondrous and amazing, which will help us to understand better God’s will and our mission in the service of his kingdom,” he wrote.
Mrs Morley said the Pope’s message, and the rich Scripture references it contains, is itself a very worthwhile document for prayer and reflection.
The Synod prayer resources and a collation of other Lenten resources from Australian dioceses and other Church institutions, can be found on the Australian Synod of Bishops website: www.catholic.org.au/synodalchurch