SYNOD ON SYNODALITY, Maria Fischer •
“A question: are there Schoenstatters in the Synodal Assembly?” asked Manuel Huapaya in an exchange of the schoenstatt.org team on Friday, July 7, when the list of participants in the first session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will take place from October 4 to 29, 2023, was presented at the Holy See Press Office. —
In presenting the list of participants, Cardinal Grech said, “We have tried to represent the whole people of God. For example, we asked the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life to propose people, including people with disabilities. We have representatives from all continents, plus members proposed by the bishops’ conferences, clergy, religious, deacons, laity and youth. There is also a representative of the Digital Synod.”
According to the Holy See Press Office, the synodal assembly will consist of a total of 363 voting members. Among them,
- 85 women, 54 of whom will have voting rights: two of them will be among the vice-presidents.
- 20 representatives of the Oriental Churches
- 43 bishops from Africa
- 47 from America
- 25 from Asia
- 48 from Europe
- 5 from Oceania
- 1 without a bishops’ conference.
- 5 Presidents of the International Assembly of Bishops’ Conferences.
- 20 heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia.
- 50 members appointed by the Pope.
- 16 members of the Ordinary Council of the Synod.
- In addition, 8 special guests and 75 other participants, including 57 experts and mediators.
- 12 delegates from other churches.
“I hope that I can make a good contribution”
“I hope that I can make a good contribution,” Bishop Ramón Alfredo de la Cruz Baldera, Bishop of San Francisco de Macorís in the Dominican Republic, a member of the Institute of Schoenstatt Diocesan Priests and one of the two bishops at the Synod who belong to a Schoenstatt priests’ community, told us. A few days ago, he published an essay on the fear of Artificial Intelligence (AI), saying that this fear stems from our own insecurity and fear of the unknown. “The idea that AI could take over the world, control global decisions, and even start wars is an expression of human uncertainty about the future. Fear is a natural human reaction to the unknown and unpredictable,” he writes. “The point is not to prevent its progress, but to put in place appropriate controls to ensure its use for the benefit of humanity. Instead of fearing AI, we should see it as an opportunity to improve our quality of life and solve problems that were previously out of our reach.
The real danger lies not in AI itself, but in its uncontrolled use. In this sense, the fear of AI is a reminder that everything in this world needs to be in balance and that everything can become a threat to our existence if control is lost. This fear should be used as a catalyst to ensure that AI development is done responsibly and ethically, and that human welfare always takes precedence over all other goals.”
I can’t help but think of the pre-founding document:
Other bishops who belong to Schoenstatt or are close to Schoenstatt
Another participating bishop is Nicolas Nadji Bab, of the Schoenstatt Priests’ Federation in Chad, Bishop of the Diocese of Laï.
Father Nicolas became acquainted with the work of the Schoenstatt Movement through Fr. Alois Baumberger, a Swiss member of the Priests’ Federation who worked for many years as a Fidei Donum priest in the Pala diocese in southern Chad. On his initiative, some priests from the dioceses of Pala, Laï, Moundou and Sarh came into contact with his community and formed a group. Some of them joined the Federation, including Père Nicolas in 2004. He was in Schoenstatt for the first time in 2005, on the occasion of World Youth Day in Cologne, where he was terribly cold on the night of the vigil on the Marian Field, which he still remembers. In 2019, he participated in the meeting for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Apostolic Federation in Hörde.
Of the other participants, some know Schoenstatt. The future prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, for example, Bishop Víctor Manuel Fernández, who is now a cardinal, has a shrine in the shadow of his cathedral, an auxiliary bishop from the Priests’ Federation, and a large number of Schoenstatters who collaborate selflessly and efficiently in his diocese of La Plata, Argentina.
Archbishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, United States, “appears” in several articles on schoenstatt.org as a participant in Pilgrim Mother Campaign meetings.
During his recent visit to Honduras, Father José Luis Correa visited the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, José Vicente Nácher Tatay, CM. “Nacher, a bishop from Valencia, Spain, who until a few months ago was a parish priest in San Pedro Sula, received us for half an hour. We spoke with him about Schoenstatt in the Honduran capital. We gave him a Unity Cross on a pedestal and a pectoral cross, which he immediately kissed. He is very open to the fact that we support the Pastoral of the Family, for which there are several couples and a diocesan priest, Fr. Javier Martinez, who was recently named dean, who are connected to the Movement,” the article about this visit reads.
All should count on our prayers and contributions to the capital of grace
“Our” participants in the Synod and all participants should and can count on our prayers and contributions to the Capital of Grace to make “a good contribution.”
We are already looking forward to articles about initiatives in the shrines and wayside shrines in October…and before.
Are there Schoenstatters at the Synod Assembly? Yes, two bishops. And all of us.
Editor`s note: Several days after we published the article, we learned that there is a member of the Schoenstatt Men`s Youth of Brazil among the volunteers working for the synod.
Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org