On October 10, 2021, His Holiness Pope Francis officially opened the synodal process, ending in October 2024. The synod, whose objective is for the people of God to listen to one another, has undergone a challenging yet fruitful process of consultation, dialogue, meetings, and journeying in the spirit of communion and discernment. The WORD OF GOD is the heart of this synodal process, the foundation of the Church’s mission. By proclaiming God’s Word in this synod, we are constantly reminded of the vital role it plays in the pastoral life of the Church and the understanding of our faith as we continuously seek God’s will in our lives.
The theme of the Word Conference 2023 is The WORD OF GOD: “A fountain of water in a dry land, springing up to eternal life.” (Jn 4:14). As we embark on the synodal process, it is essential to anchor ourselves in God’s Word, which is like a fountain of water that will quench our burning thirst for truth and reconciliation. As the synod invites us to listen and dialogue, we must also allow God’s Word to penetrate our hearts to discern what the Holy Spirit tells us.
The Bible, the living WORD OF GOD, contains many passages in the Old and New Testaments that reflect the essence of the synod – “walking together.” In the Old Testament, as Israel, the people of God wander toward the Promised Land, Yahweh constantly reminds them that He is in their midst and walks among them (cf. Lev 26: 12, Dt 23: 14, Is 41: 10). On the other hand, the New Testament describes Jesus Christ as the image of the invisible God (cf. Col 1:15, 2 Cor 4: 6), who became flesh and dwelt among us (Jn 1: 14). Just like on the road to Emmaus, Jesus continues to walk with us and teach us the truth as revealed in the scriptures.
Synodality is engaging in authentic dialogue within and beyond the sacramental bounds of the Church. Engaging in the synodal process emphasizes the importance of readiness to open and welcome the Word of God in our lives. We come to dialogue with a humble heart, understanding the importance of God’s love and forgiveness. (Ps 51:10-12) Only by then can we, as a people of God, walk together on the road to the way of synodality. (Luke 24 17) As we walk together, the Lord in the Gospels constantly invites us to discern, renew, and accustom ourselves to the signs of the times (Matthew 24:3-31). Moreover, we must never forget that in approaching God, we have the Blessed Virgin Mary, our mother (Luke 1:42-46), who is there journeying with us and interceding for our needs (John 2:5).
The Claretian Missionaries in the Philippines (Fr. Rhoel Gallardo Province), under the care of the Prefecture of Biblical Animation and Communications and the Claretian Communications Foundation, Inc., initiates this event, which hopes to start the dialogue and open more venues for conversation to understand further the importance of this synod in the life of the faithful and the Church.
For more information about the event, please visit http://www.wordcon.ph/