Message from the Bishops of Canada Attending the Synod of Bishops: “With Hope, Moving into the Deep”

Friday, October 26 2001

(CCCB – Rome) The five Canadian bishops at the month-long 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, which ended today, say they experienced an extraordinary sense of communion.

To further that same sense of communion, Bishop Gilles Cazabon, OMI, Saint Jerome, Bishop Raymond Lahey, St. George’s, Bishop Pierre Morissette, Baie-Comeau, and Archbishop V. James Weisgerber, Winnipeg, and Maronite Eparch Joseph Khoury, Montreal, released a message for their fellow bishops and the faithful in Canada. The delegates described how they experienced communion in many different ways: with the Holy Father and the other participants of the Synod, with the other Churches represented at the Synod, and with the faithful of Canada. They also expressed “a strong reminder that whatever problems we face, no matter how heart-wrenching, our brothers and sisters walk with the Lord and also with us.”

The Synod examined various important questions for the Church: “We have brought our dreams, our ideas, our views to advise the Holy Father, and thereby bring the Church to a better position for serving the People of God in the reality of their daily lives.” Many of the interventions discussed collegiality or working together as bishops. Some of the bishops called for a review of how collegiality works, the role of episcopal conferences in the exercise of collegiality, the role and ministry of the bishop in the local Church, and relations with the Roman Curia. The tragic events on September 11 in the United States impacted on the 28-day Synodal meeting, with a special day of prayer being held. Many of the interventions made reference to the event. There were also many calls for lasting peace and greater sharing among people, as well as reminders of the extreme poverty that many people are suffering, and which is often the origin of today’s violence. With this in mind, the Canadian delegates called for more emphasis on dialogue between cultures and religions “as a necessary step toward achieving world peace.”

Despite the many headlines depicting how fragile the world is, the Canadian delegates said they leave the Synod filled with hope. They also committed themselves “to be servants of the gospel of Jesus Christ for the hope of the world,” as suggested in the theme of the Synod. “With gratitude in our hearts, we recommit ourselves to be heralds of the Good News of Jesus Christ. We are most anxious to move ahead with creativity and courage to encourage new growth in our dioceses. We invite all Canadian Christians to be full partners in this recommitment.”

The Synod is a regular meeting or religious assembly where the bishops, gathered in the presence of the Holy Father, can interact with one another as they search for pastoral approaches. This Synod, which examined the role and ministry of the bishop, began on September 30 and ended today. After the interventions of each delegate, the many workshops and discussions, the 280 participants yesterday approved some final propositions that will be given to the Holy Father. These will form the basis of an Apostolic Exhortation, a papal document that will issue from the Synod. A post-Synodal committee will spend the coming months working on the document.

Related link: