Couple of the Teams of Our Lady at the Synod
After a 24-hour trip starting at our house, at last we arrived in Rome, tired but very excited at the prospect of experiencing this great event. The following day, Sunday October 5th, we went to mass in St Peter’s Cathedral where we participated in a very special mass, because it was presided over by Pope Francis himself. When we arrived at the Basilica, we were taken to a zone, close to the altar, that was especially given over to all the auditors. And a surprise awaited us there: Hermelinda was separated from the group, because she had been chosen to read one of the Prayers of the Faithful, to represent the Portuguese language. What an honour! The Gospel of the day (Mt 21: 33-43) spoke about the vine and the winegrowers. That was all of us, who had come from various countries, and who were there to work at the Synod and afterwards who were to continue to tend to the vineyards in our countries. We will never forget that celebration, which fortified us enormously, as well as all the celebrations we participated in every day in the Sister’s house, where we stayed. Fourteen bishops presided!
A true meeting with Christ every morning. The next day, we began our work. When we arrived in the Paul VI Room, someone special was waiting for us: Pope Francis! He stayed with us throughout the whole Synod. A great presence and at the same time humble and attentive to everything and everyone! Right from the beginning, after prayers (that he led every day), he asked, “We are all here to talk with complete transparency and to listen with humility.”
We began with a reading of the Instrumentum Laboris, the text, which had been given out ahead of time so that everyone could prepare.
Every morning there was a half-hour break, which in fact turned out to be ‘coffee with the Pope.’ He stood and waited to talk to everyone. A line formed and every one without distinction, bishops, cardinals, priests, seminarians or auditors, spent a few minutes with him. What a pleasure! Despite the excellent specialities served with the coffee, nothing could compare with the joyful welcome, the smiles and the kind word addressed to everyone, whom the Holy Father received. We greeted him, we talked with him, he blessed our family, we gave him a Monthly Letter and he asked us to pray for him. And this was repeated over several days… Our hearts were warmed and we thought, “Heaven must be like this…”
We were together with 70 Cardinals, 120 Bishops, several Priests and a few Auditors. Over a week of intense audiences, 7 hours a day, where testimonials and speeches were especially richness, the Relatio Post Disceptationem was drawn up: it is a synthesis of all that was said. On the basis of this synthesis, we began what was called the ‘Minor Circles,’ that is 10 groups divided up according to language with 20 participants per group. Our group was made up of 6 Cardinals, 8 Bishops and 4 Priests (teachers in seminaries) and us two. These Minor Circles lasted three days, during which we were able to debate and improve on the original document, which lead to the writing of the Relatio Synodi.
Over the last two days, the Fathers of the Synod were able to debate and approve the final text, which will be used by all the clergy for study, debate and subsequent conclusions during the next Synod in October 2015. It was a unique experience where we learnt an awful lot and we felt blessed by God’s gaze on our family. We understood how many difference, difficulties and joys exist in our world, made up of light and shadow. What remains is the hope for a world that loves truth, justice and mercy. Let us persevere in prayer so that his will may be done!
Hermelinda & Arturo ZAMPERLINI