Three Australian bishops are among the hundreds of Bishops and priests from around the world in Rome for the XXIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the theme “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.”
The three are Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, Archbishop of Perth, and Bishop Christopher Prowse, Bishop of Sale. Cardinal Pell was nominated by Pope Benedict XVI as one of the Synod Fathers, and Archbishop Costelloe and Bishop Prowse were elected to represent the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
The Synod commenced this morning with Mass in St Peter’s Square at 9.30am and will conclude on Sunday 28 October.
Commenting on the Mass, Bishop Prowse says “Like the Apostles gathered with Mary in the Cenacle, we gathered with the Holy Father at the Opening Mass this morning praying for a New Pentecost to descend upon us.”
The Australian Bishops are among 262 Synod Fathers, who will be joined by 45 Experts and 49 Auditors, women and men, lay and religious, as well as Fraternal Representatives of 15 Churches and ecclesial communities not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Pell says “This is a significant topic. It is easier to reform seminaries but much more difficult to bring about spiritual renewal.”
Archbishop Costelloe says “The Year of Grace currently underway in Australia reminds us that it is important to contemplate the face of Christ in order to deepen our faith. This is at the heart of the new evangelisation.”
In preparing for the Synod the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference was asked to respond to a Questionnaire on the topic of the new evangelisation. Groups and individuals from across Australia were invited to share their thoughts and experiences.
Archbishop Costelloe noted that the renewal of the Catholic faith is for those who regularly practise their faith, those who are not active in the Church as well as those who are not Catholic.