Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre celebrated a Prayer Service for the Opening of the Synod of Bishops Sept. 30 at Holy Spirit Church to ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance upon the meeting taking place at the Vatican Oct. 4 to 29.
The local service was one of many held around the world in solidarity with an ecumenical prayer vigil held in St. Peter’s Square the same day.
Archbishop Fabre said that though the synod is happening many miles away, “prayers and thoughts shrink the distance between Louisville and Rome.” Prayer, he said, has the power to join heaven and earth.
During his homily at the prayer service, Archbishop Fabre said that much — both good and bad — has been reported about the synod. What’s important, he noted, is that Pope Francis has said that the synod is a “spiritual and ecclesial discernment” and that the Word of God is guiding the process.
The Holy Father has made it clear that the synod is not a church convention, a study group or a political gathering, but rather a “grace-filled event” and a “process of healing guided by the Holy Spirit,” the archbishop told the congregation, which included clergy, laity and religious.
The synod involves listening to God, to others and to one’s own experiences, he said. Listening can be challenging, however, he noted.
“Listening is powerful, yet a difficult reality,” he said, noting that he’s heard it said, “ ‘Listening is to be opened to the fact that I might be changed by what I hear.’”
Pope Francis “makes it clear that the synod calls us to listen to one another and the Holy Spirit,” the archbishop said.
He called on his listeners to join their voices in prayer so those attending the synod “might be more ready to listen to God and so might we.”
In doing so, God will “mold us into the people and church he wants us to be,” said Archbishop Fabre.
During the vigil, several people — representing the laity, clergy and religious — offered prayers and read from various church documents, including the Instrumentum Laboris, the synod’s working document.