“Communion and Proclaiming the Gospel” was the theme of a meeting today in Rome in which Pope John Paul II welcomed 150 participants in the inter-eparchal synod and the Italo-Albanian eparchies in Italy.
They met together with Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
The Pope remarked that this theme is "very current for your two eparchies and for the exarchal monastery of Grottaferrata. Heirs of a common spiritual patrimony, your ecclesial realities are called to witness to the unity of the same faith in diverse social contexts."
He added that the synod "has accented essential themes such as catechesis and mystagogy with a view to an appropriate spiritual growth of the entire People of God.”
You have also looked at theological and ascetical paths for the preparation of clergy and members of institutes of consecrated life. ... It is your intention to prepare a solid formation rooted in the Oriental tradition and aimed at responding in an effective manner to the growing challenges of secularization."
The Holy Father pointed to the beauty of the Byzantine rite, the Eucharistic prayers and celebration of the sacraments, adding that "the entire liturgy and divine worship, so rich in hymns, is a strong vehicle of catechesis for the entire Christian people.”
"I encourage you," he said, "to pursue your contacts, thanks to common liturgical tradition, with the Orthodox Churches, who are also anxious to give glory to the One God and Savior.”
“May the Almighty Lord”, the Pope prayed, “grant all believers in Christ to fully live unity in the same faith. For this I pray and ask the Lord that your synod will contribute to favoring a renewed proclamation of the Gospel in your communities as well as a vigorous ecumenical thrust."