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Hope, settling in the Church, listening to each other, and friendship are vital concepts for properly discovering what God is leading us to during the Roman stage of the Synod, says Professor Aleksander Bańka, summing up the three-day retreat for Synod participants taking place in Sacrofano. As he stresses, a well-experienced retreat will allow the Synod participants to meet in a spirit of fraternity and good relations. 

“If we, as participants, take this retreat time seriously and allow the Word to speak to us in the areas that matter to us, then I feel confident about the direction of this Synod. Then, we will be able to meet in a spirit of full fraternity and good relations that will allow us to discern rather than confront each other in our understanding and experience of the Church,” said Prof. Aleksander Bańka.

The participants in the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod, which begins on 4 October, have been on a three-day retreat at the Sacrofano retreat center near Rome since 1 October. According to Prof. Bańka, the first part of the retreat was focused primarily on meditation, entering into silence, into the depths of pondering the Word of God. In contrast, the second part was dedicated to sharing the inspirations drawn from the first stage of the retreat in small groups.

Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, Dominican, offered retreat participants an insight into the Word of God. “Among the concepts he focused on were, firstly, hope. Secondly, home – the question of how we experience the Church as a home. Thirdly, the word we are to speak or receive, with all the context of listening, and fourthly, friendship, as the relationship which is to unite us as participants, also during this journey of the Synod,” said Prof. Bańka.

“Each of these concepts aims to show the importance of properly embracing the Synod meeting – precisely in the spirit of settling in the Church, in the spirit of friendship, in the spirit of listening to each other – it will not be possible to discover what God is leading us to during this Roman stage of the Synod,” he concluded.

“It will be essential for the retreat participants to test the fruits of the retreat in practice already during the Synod,” he said. “Then it will become clear to what extent we have assimilated the contents of this retreat, given to us as an introduction to the Synod,” assumed Prof. Bańka.

Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference

Translation: Sr. Ewa Dobrzelecka / Office for Foreign Communication of the Polish Bishops’ Conference