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October Synod will focus on challenges facing Christians as minority in Middle East

Catholic World News - May 04, 2010

The October meeting of the Synod of Bishops, which will be devoted to the Middle East, will be a "precious opportunity" to strengthen Christian identity in a troubled region, the Vatican announced after a meeting of the Synod's preparatory committee.

Preparations for the Middle East Synod-- which are moving forward at an accelerated pace at the request of Pope Benedict XVI-- have focused on the need to reinvigorate the Christian minority and promote cooperation among the many different Christian churches in the region. The Vatican communiqué on the preparatory committee's work emphasized "the urgent need for a convinced ecumenical commitment."

The October Synod meeting will discuss the mission of the faithful as "active witnesses of Christ in the context of a Muslim-majority society." The preparatory committee was forthright in acknowledging the difficulties of that mission, aggravated by "conflicts and instability which cause the exodus of people, including no small number of Christians."

The preparatory committee includes the heads of the Maronite, Coptic, Syrian, Melkite, Armenian, Chaldean, and Latin Catholic communities in the Middle East, as well as several Vatican officials including the prefects of the Congregation for Evangelization (Cardinal Ivan Dias) and the Congregation for Eastern Churches (Cardinal Leonardo Sandri).

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