Papal Prayer Intention – October 2022

The prayer intention of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for October 2022 is:

“We pray for the Church; ever faithful to, and courageous in preaching the Gospel, may the Church be a community of solidarity, fraternity and welcome, always living in an atmosphere of synodality.”

In 2018 the International Theological Commission wrote:

4.1 For a synodal renewal of the life and mission of the Church

104. “Every renewal of the Church is essentially grounded in increase of fidelity to her own calling” [130]. So, in carrying out her mission, the Church is called to constant conversion, which is a “pastoral and missionary conversion”, too; this involves renewing mentalities, attitudes, practices and structures, in order to be ever more faithful to her vocation [131]. An ecclesial mentality shaped by synodal thinking joyfully welcomes and promotes the grace in virtue of which all the baptised are qualified and called to be missionary disciples. The great challenge for pastoral conversion that follows from this for the life of the Church is to intensify the mutual collaboration of all in evangelising witness based on everyone’s gifts and roles, without clericalising lay people and without turning the clergy into lay people, and in any case avoiding the temptation of “an excessive clericalism which keeps them [lay people] away from decision-making” [132].

105. Pastoral conversion for the implementation of synodality means that some paradigms often still present in ecclesiastical culture need to be quashed, because they express an understanding of the Church that has not been renewed by the ecclesiology of communion. These include: the concentration of responsibility for mission in the ministry of Pastors; insufficient appreciation of the consecrated life and charismatic gifts; rarely making use of the specific and qualified contribution of the lay faithful, including women, in their areas of expertise.

106. In the perspective of communion and implementing synodality, some basic lines of orientation in pastoral action can be indicated:

a. the implementation in the local Church and on every level of the circular relationship between the ministry of Pastors, the participation and co-responsibility of lay people, the stimulus coming from the charismatic gifts according to the dynamic circular link between “one”, “some” and “all”;

b. the integration of the exercise of collegiality by Pastors and the synodality lived by the whole People of God as an expression of communion between local Churches within the universal Church;

c. the exercise of the Petrine ministry of unity and leadership of the universal Church by the Bishop of Rome in the communion of all local Churches, in synergy with the collegial ministry of Bishops and the synodal journey of the People of God;

d. the openness of the Catholic Church towards other Churches and ecclesial communities in the irreversible commitment to journeying together towards complete unity in the reconciled diversity of their respective traditions;

e. social diakonia and constructive dialogue with men and women of different religious confessions and convictions in order to bring about together a culture of encounter.

NB: Numbers in square brackets above are references to footnotes in the original document.