Archbishop’s Oct. 17 blog from Rome

In his latest post from Rome, Archbishop Kurtz says he and the other delegates are in the midst of discerning the themes emerging from the synod. He also reports that Pope Benedict XVI is sending a delegation of cardinals and bishops — including New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan — to a church in Syria where they will be in solidarity with people who are suffering, he said. …

“Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat.” The gospel on this feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch points to martyrdom for the sake of Christ, a witness for every age.

The Synod on the New Evangelization is about this faithful witness to Christ. A credible proclamation of the Gospel in our own age is weak when such sacrifice is absent. Indeed, the unity of the church that we seek comes about through the power of the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ, who freely gave up His life for us. It is becoming clearer that unity will be achieved only as we draw closer and closer to Christ and His sacrificial grace.

This morning I am putting together the notes to be used in our small group tomorrow, which involves gathering together all of the scraps of paper that contain themes from these last 1.5 weeks of dialogue and interventions. Today, Cardinal Wuerl will present a second summary, which will provide greater clarity of the themes that are emerging from all of these sessions. Then the small groups will be tasked tomorrow with formulating propositions for promoting the new evangelization. Pray that I will be a good relator, listening and preparing to represent our small group on Friday at a general session. There are 12 such “language” groups, including four in English. Each of the 12 relators will have about 10 minutes to present summaries from his respective small group.

As a gesture of solidarity in sacrifice and unity, our Holy Father announced yesterday that he is sending a delegation of Cardinals and Bishops to a suffering people and a Church in peril in Syria. We are honored that Cardinal Dolan will be among that delegation. Please pray that there might be a true, just, and lasting peace and for renewed efforts to preserve religious freedom for the people of Syria.

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