.- Pope Benedict inaugurated the XXI Synod of Bishops dedicated to the Eucharist this Sunday with a solemn Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, with more than 250 bishops from around the word, various invited experts, and more than 4,500 of the faithful in attendance. The new norms were presented by Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, Genera Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, first reminding that this Synod is taking place celebrating the 40th anniversary of the institution of the Synod by Pope Paul VI, on September 15, 1965 with the “motu proprio Apostolica sollicitudo.”
The Synod will have a different pace from previous ones, according to new norms requested by the Pope. The meeting will last three weeks—one less than previous Synods. In addition, the bishops will have two minutes less to deliver the personal written interventions.
But also new this time will be the possibility for bishops and participants to briefly comment upon or reply to ideas that are put forth. Under the former norms, the exchange of opinions was not possible.
The final two weeks will be spent preparing suggestions regarding the Eucharist in the life of the Church—from its theological value to the possible “reform of the reform” of the liturgy—which will be presented to the Pope.
These conclusions will form the basis of an eventual Apostolic Exhortation, possible one of the first official documents of the Holy Father.
Although the Synod is an event for bishops, the Pope has invited a significant number of lay observers from the Americas, including Carl Albert Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Leoardo and Martha Loreno Casco of Honduras, Moyses Lauro de Acevedo Filho, founder and General Moderator of the Shalom Catholic Community of Brazil, and Luis Fernando Figari Rodrigo, founder of the Sodalite Family, who was invited by the Pope the proclaim one of the readings during the inaugural Mass.