“My first language, however, was Lithuanian. When I was born, my mother didn’t speak English, so it was actually my mother tongue in a very strict sense. So I’m very much both [Lithuanian and American]. I think on two channels.”
Following his election as CCEE president, Grušas is expected to play a significant role in the continental stage of the two-year process leading to the synod on synodality.
The Vatican announced in May that the synod on synodality would open with a diocesan phase lasting from October 2021 to April 2022.
A second, continental phase will take place from September 2022 to March 2023.
The third, universal phase will begin at the Vatican in October 2023 with the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to the theme “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.”
Grušas celebrated the CCEE plenary assembly’s closing Mass in the Basilica of St. John Lateran.
Recalling the pope’s invitation to Europe’s bishops to “walk together,” the archbishop said: “Let us return today to our countries and dioceses with a renewed commitment to walk this path together into the future, guided by the Spirit of God and listening to God speaking through His Holy People.”
“We walk listening to the movement of the Spirit in our hearts, first on a more local level, then on a diocesan level, on a national level and listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit we look at where God is leading us as God’s people in Europe today.”
“But we cannot stop here, because the Church is universal and neither national nor continental boundaries limit the people of God. Let us walk together as one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church towards a future that God has prepared for us, all brothers and sisters in Christ.”
The CCEE has 39 members, comprising 33 bishops’ conferences, the archbishops of Luxembourg, the Principality of Monaco, the Maronite archbishop of Cyprus, the bishop of Chişinău, Moldova, the eparchial bishop of Mukachevo, and the apostolic administrator of Estonia.
The CCEE issued a final message on Sept. 25, as its plenary assembly drew to a close.
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It said: “On this so important anniversary [of the CCEE’s creation], we invite everyone in Europe to walk together with us. Our words are those of the faith and also those of real reason; they come from the same source, the Word of God, Christ the Lord. There are no forgotten suburbs where He is to be found; there one finds God, believers, and people of goodwill.”
“Together with you we raise our eyes and look forward, far away into the distance so as not to lose our way and not to stop in the meanders of history. Together one sees better and one walks humbly towards horizons of light and peace.”