There were 464 participants in the synod, including two bishops from China

The calendar and final list of those who will participate in the meeting from October 4 to 29 have been published: 365 members, including 54 female voters. Chinese bishops are “proposed by the local church in agreement with the authorities and appointed by the Pope.” Governor Ruffini: “For communication, tell the Synod what it is: a moment of discernment and prayer.” Various events are scheduled, including a pilgrimage, prayer for migrants and the Rosary in the Vatican Gardens.

Salvatore Cernozio – Vatican City

Four hundred and sixty-four participants, 365 members (“as many days in the year: 364 plus the Pope”), of whom 54 were female electors. The members also include two Chinese bishops proposed by the local church “in agreement with the authorities” and appointed by the Pope. These are the numbers for the upcoming council on collegiality, which will begin on the fourth of next October in the Vatican until the twenty-ninth of this month. Month. Four weeks, punctuated by various events, cardinals, bishops, religious and laity from all over the world will gather in the Paul VI Hall handling new tablets through which each participant will be able to vote, download and read documents “in order to avoid wastage of paper.”

This morning, September 21, the “complete and final” list of participants and schedule of events for the upcoming meeting was published. It was presented in the Vatican Press Office by Paolo Ruffini, Dean of the Department of Communications and also Chairman of the Information Committee, flanked by Father Giacomo Costa, Private Secretary of the Congregation, and Monsignor Luis Marín de San Martín, Under-Secretary-General. Synod Secretariat.

The two Chinese bishops

The Spanish bishop himself confirmed the presence of the bishops of the People’s Republic of China: Monsignor Antonio Yao Xun, Bishop of Jining/Wuming, of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and Monsignor Giuseppe Yang Yongqiang, Bishop of Chucun, of the province. Shandong. “The local church, in agreement with the authorities, submitted the two names and the Pope nominated them. “They are involved in the papal appointment,” Marin said.

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This is not the first time that two bishops from China have participated in the work of the Synod. In 2018, on the occasion of the Synod of Youth, Monsignor John the Baptist Yang Xiaoting, Bishop of Yan’an (Shaanxi), and Monsignor Giuseppe Gu Jinkai, Bishop of Chengde (Hebei), attended. They did not participate in all the council sessions, but their presence, even for a few days, was a strong signal after the signing of the China-Holy See agreement to appoint bishops. A new matter. Pope Francis did not contain his emotions during the opening Mass of the Synod in St. Peter’s Square: “Today, for the first time, two brother bishops from the continent of China are also present here with us. “Let us give them a warm welcome,” the Pope said, interrupted by tears.

Universality of the Church

At the synod, in addition to Shun and Yongqiang, there will also be Monsignor Stephen Chow, Bishop of Hong Kong, who will receive the red hat at the synod on September 30. Their presence is a sign of the universality of the Church that is a distinctive feature of every council. “It is clear – and the Pope said it very well – the importance of the presence of the Chinese Church at the synod, it is important for the Church and also for the Chinese people,” Ruffini said. As members of the papal appointment, the two bishops will participate in all actions: small circles, assemblies, community and moments of prayer.

Speakers at the press conference in the Vatican press office

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“Respectful” communication.

There are many moments of prayer to emphasize the fundamentally spiritual nature of this event of discernment and listening, and it is not a “parliament” or a “debating hall,” as the Pope’s words come back again. It is precisely in order to protect this aspect that the Pontiff wants, as he had the opportunity to reiterate in the recent press conference on the plane from Mongolia, a message that “respects everyone’s interventions” and “try not to make small talk, but to say specifically things related to progress.” The constructive synod of the Church, in order to “transmit the ecclesiastical, not political, spirit.”

In other words, Ruffini explained, in response to the question whether papal secrecy would be added to some interventions, the Synod’s communications “fall not so much within the definition of secret, but rather with the definition of secrecy, secrecy, and a sense of belonging to others.” Each member of the body must develop the position of the Synod.” The “interpretive” point, according to the head of the Information Committee, is “to understand that the Synod is a prayer, a moment of collective recognition that is different from the sum of individual interventions.” For the journalists who asked if they wanted to receive Information, they will have to hunt down the fathers and mothers of the Synod in the different colleges in Rome that will host them, said the Prefect of Communications in the meantime waiting for the regulation, which is still in the approval stage, to understand it and how to submit the communications, reiterating the utmost “commitment” to provide all possible information.


Returning to the calendar, in more detail, as Father Costa explained, all participants on the evening of September 30, after the ecumenical vigil “Together” in St. Peter’s Square, will move to Sacrofano for spiritual retreat until October 3. The other “pillars” will then be the official opening with the Mass celebrated by the Pope on Wednesday, October 4; Daily Masses at the Altar of the Chair with all participants; Hajj is still scheduled for October 12; On the 19th, a prayer “together” for migrants and refugees, “in which the Pope will be very keen to participate”; On October 25, the Rosary is recited in the Vatican Gardens.

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Modules and reflections

“These are the moments that define the development of the Assembly”, divided into five modules: the first four on the different parts of the working tool and the “final session to discuss and improve the report and summaries”. In smaller circle sessions, “the groups will work in depth.” “The Pope – as the speakers made clear – is very careful not to allow individual dissenting voices to emerge but invites us to move from what each person has been able to articulate in his prayers and reflections into a common fabric and an effective possibility for discussion.” Jesuit Costa explained that there will be 35 groups made up of 11 people and facilitators: fourteen in English, 7 in Spanish, 5 in French, 8 in Italian, and one in Portuguese. Half of the community chose English as their first language, considering Italian as their second language.


In the various contributions, the presence of Cardinal Luis Rafael Sako, Patriarch of Babylon for the Chaldeans, who was forced to leave Baghdad due to political problems, was confirmed, and the withdrawal of Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, honorary governor of the Department of the Doctrine of the Faith. Who “asked the Pope to dispense with him.”


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