The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life & Mission of the Church
11th Ordinary General Assembly of Synod of Bishops
The Synod on the Eucharist convened by the late Pope John Paul II, and by Pope Benedict XVI met in Rome from the 2 23 October 2005.
The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales was represented by its elected delegates Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Bishop Brian Noble. In addition Bishop Arthur Roche, Chairman of the Department for Christian Life and Worship, was invited to attend by appointment of Pope Benedict XVI. Also attending the Synod from England and Wales were Bishops of the Church of England, invited as ecumenical guests, representing the Anglican Communion.
The Vatican website, provides extensive information about the Synod, including the interventions of the English Bishops. The Interventions by the bishops of England and Wales were on a variety of topics including the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist; on the importance of the relationship between the Eucharist and the koinonia, the Communion of the Church; the importance of ensuring that sufficient priests are available for celebrations of Sunday Mass; and the importance of pastoral sensitivity to the particular situation of those who are divorced and remarried.
The Synod Fathers issued a final message which ranged over many of the themes explored over the three weeks of the Synod. One particularly strong theme was that of the Communion of the Church, and the need to work and pray for unity: ‘We are all responsible for this unity, as we are all members of the family of God because of our Baptism, graced by the same fundamental dignity and sharing in the remarkable sacramental gift of divine life. We all feel the sadness of separation which prevents the common celebration of the Eucharist. We wish to intensify the prayer for unity within communities, the exchange of gifts between the Churches and ecclesial communities, as well as the respectful and fraternal contact among everyone, so that we may better know and love one another, respecting and appreciating our differences and our shared values.’
The Synod Fathers presented a series of propositions to the Holy Father, a summary of issues they had explored. It is expected that these will inform his Apostolic Exhortation, (expected in about 12 months time), his personal response to the experience of collegial reflection on the themes of the Synod.Uniquely Pope Benedict instructed that these propositions themselves be published. They can be read in an unofficial translation at Zenit.
The Gift of Scripture
Let us take up this book! Let us receive it from the Lord who continues to offer it to us through the Church! Let us devour it, so that it can become our very life! Let us savour it deeply: it will make demands of us, but it will give us joy because it is sweet as honey. Filled with hope, we will be able to share it with every man and woman whom we encounter on our way. Pope John Paul II. Ecclesia in Europa, 65
The Bishops of England and Wales, together with the Bishops of Scotland, have recently issued a teaching document The Gift of Scripture. The document is intended to help people ‘hear, understand and live God’s word’.
In its section ‘Living the Word of God’ The Gift of Scripture underlines the way in which from the earliest days the proclamation of the Scriptures have been an integral part of the liturgy.
A range of resources to assist parishes, deaneries and others have been produced by the Liturgy Office. They focus especially on the Sacred Scriptures and the Liturgy.
These liturgical resources are available for free download.
Other more general resources are also available and can be accessed from the website of Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
- Opening the Gift of Scripture
Materials to enable Deanery meeting reflection on The Gift of Scripture
- Preaching the Word
Reflections on preaching drawn from The Gift of Scripture
- Celebrating the Word
Guidance on preparing a liturgy of the word
- Praying the Word
Lectio Divina and the Sunday Scriptures
- Sharing the Word
An Introduction to Lectionary based Catechesis
- Proclaiming the Word
Guidelines for Ministering the Word at Sunday Mass
- Ministers of the Word
Liturgy Office Guidelines
Comments on the usefulness of this and other resource material for Liturgy Commissions, parishes and other groups and communities is always welcome. Especially welcome are suggestions as to how it might be made more useful to those who wish to use it.
The Gift of Scripture is published by CTS at £3.95. It is shortly to be available also to download from the Bishops’ Conference website.