Two significant events intersect this October. Firstly, the Synod on Synodality, initiated by Pope Francis in 2021, embarks on its first session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly from October 4-29. This synod signifies a spiritual pilgrimage, reminiscent of the disciples of Emmaus, where the faithful walk alongside the Lord, ever eager to listen.
Concurrently, the Church commemorates the 97th World Mission Sunday. The essence of this celebration seamlessly aligns with the synodal theme. As Pope Francis remarks, “Mission is at the heart of the Church,” but its heartbeat intensifies within a synodal context. When the Church gathers in synod, its missionary zeal finds renewed vigor.
Pope Francis envisages a Church deeply rooted in listening and dialogue. A Church that remains attuned to the gentle whisperings of the Holy Spirit, guiding her towards the world’s peripheries. Echoing St. Francis Xavier’s sentiments, the Pope underscores the Church’s mission to the fringes of society. He beckons us to remember Christ’s ministry, one that ceaselessly reached out to the marginalized, the forgotten, the underserved.
This ethos is humbly championed by The Pontifical Mission Societies. With a universal mandate, its 120 national offices collaborate tirelessly to aid missionaries in carrying the Gospel’s message to the world’s furthest corners. This endeavor serves not just as a commitment but as an embodiment of Christ’s love to those on the peripheries.
In this significant month, Pope Francis extends an invitation – to listen, to dialogue, to reach out. As we contemplate his prayer intention, we are moved to adopt a life centered on spiritual communion and dialogue, perpetually journeying towards society’s edges, led by the Holy Spirit’s unerring guidance. Let us join our prayers with the Holy Father, that the Church, in her synodal and missionary pursuits, remains steadfast in her divine mission of reaching out to everyone.
Inés San Martín
The Pontifical Mission Societies USA