“Synodality instead asks us to look beyond the barriers with magnanimity, to see the presence of God and his actions even in people we do not know, in new pastoral approaches, in uncharted mission territories” asks Pope Francis.

On June 13, 2024, about 200 participants gathered at the Aula Nuova del Sinodo in the Vatican for the annual meeting with the Moderators of associations of the faithful, ecclesial movements, and new communities, organized by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life (DLFV). The theme of the meeting was “The Challenge of Synodality for the Mission.”

The day began with the celebration of Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, presided over by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery. The participants were then received in audience by Pope Francis. After Cardinal Farrell’s welcome greetings, the program included two main presentations: Professor Rafael Luciani from the Catholic University Andrés Bello in Venezuela, who introduced the theme “The Mission as the Purpose of Synodality,” and Dr. Elisa Lisiero, an officer of the Dicastery, who invited participants to reflect on synodality in the experience of movements.

In his speech, Pope Francis emphasized the need for a spiritual conversion for true synodality, highlighting the importance of thinking according to God, overcoming closures, and cultivating humility. He noted that the synodal path requires an inner change to become an “ecclesial style” shared at all levels. The Pope also warned against the temptation of “closed circles” and encouraged recognizing diversity as an opportunity rather than a threat. He reaffirmed that ecclesial movements are meant to serve the Church, not to consider themselves as ends in themselves. https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2024/june/documents/20240613-moderatori.html

The meeting was marked by moments of sharing and spaces for open questions and interventions, allowing for collective reflection and an exchange of experiences among the participants. This event reinforced the commitment of the associations and movements in the synodal path of the Church, highlighting collaboration, joint reflection, and the implementation of synodal practices for evangelization.

Georges El-Ghorayeb and Father Luís Marinho had the opportunity to meet members of other ecclesial movements and share the vision of the ICCS, thus strengthening the common commitment to the Church’s mission and the promotion of synodality.