As the Assembly in Rome for the Synod on Synodality: Communion, Participation, and Mission, approaches this coming weekend, the Church everywhere prays for those present and asks the Holy Spirit to guide and bless their work on our behalf. In the Synodal journey to date, much has been said about listening, an important lesson I have understood better in recent times is to listen attentively to people whose physical and mental health is declining. I was struck by the sense that words, and the ability to hear them, become more precious as people grow frailer and what they manage to say less distinct. I read words recently from Pope Francis reflecting on meekness, and he emphasised that we are more likely to be aware of the Lord himself and his words to us when we are meek before him, and somewhat vulnerable. He invites us therefore to be humble of heart and ever attentive, so that we can bear witness to others in a humble, respectful manner.

Looking at the terms presented in the preparation for the Synod – Communion, Participation, and Mission – there is reassurance that, through the lens of these words, we are living and operating as the Church, the People of God, in the way we have always done and will continue to do so. We carry a sense of awe and gratitude as we call to mind the rich tapestry of the Church’s mission and growth since apostolic times. We pray that the Church in our day will be most attentive to the words of the Lord as we strive to do God’s will today. We commend the work of the Synod particularly to the intercession of Mary and the Apostles, and invite your prayers throughout October for those attending the Synod, particularly for Bishop Brian McGee, our delegate from Scotland.

With my prayers and good wishes, Yours in Christ,

+Joseph Toal, Bishop of Motherwell.