Synod of Bishops: The Bishop as a Pilgrim with Christ and the People of God

Wednesday, October 03 2001

(Ottawa — CCCB) Bishop Gilles Cazabon, OMI, of Saint Jerome, in an address to the Synod of Bishops in Rome, said the spirituality of the bishop involves two great passions that give it form and vitality: to live with Christ and to be in solidarity with the men and women of his time.

The second Canadian bishop to speak at the Synod in the presence of the Holy Father, Bishop Cazabon said the spirituality of the bishop needs to be based on the sense of being among his people. “To speak of ‘spirituality’ is to speak of an interior flame, a conviction, a momentum which gives life and which transforms human activity into testimony. All spirituality originates with and is nurtured by the Holy Spirit. It is both an individual personal experience and also interwoven with many other human relationships in which one discovers the presence of God.”

In a pluralistic society where there are people of many different cultures, traditions, beliefs and values, he continued, the bishop is called ”to pass on the Gospel to a new world and a different culture. This means demands on us in terms of examination and renewal. Simply repeating yesterday’s words is no longer enough for proclaiming how God has become part of our human story.”

The Xth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops opened in Rome on Sunday, September 30, and will end on October 27. Five Canadian bishops are among 250 participants attending the Synod. Besides Bishop Cazabon, the Canadian delegates elected by their peers include: Bishop Raymond Lahey, St. George’s; Bishop Pierre Morissette, Baie-Comeau; and Archbishop James Weisgerber, Winnipeg. Bishop Joseph Khoury, Eparch for the Maronites in Canada, was invited to participate in the Synod by Pope John Paul II.

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.

During the first two weeks of the Synodal assembly, each participant is invited to deliver an intervention not exceeding eight minutes in length. The choice of the theme of the intervention is left to each participant to decide. After all the interventions are delivered, the delegates will gather in linguistic groups to discuss with one another and arrive at propositions that will be sent to a post-Synodal Council named by the Holy Father. This council will forward recommendations to the Pope to be included in an Apostolic Exhortation,a papal document that will follow from the Synod.

A summary of Bishop Cazabon’s intervention may be viewed by clicking here.