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Pope, at ecumenical prayer vigil, reflects on importance of silence

October 02, 2023

» Continue to this story on Vatican Press Office

CWN Editor's Note: On the eve of the Synod on synodality, an ecumenical prayer vigil entitled “Together” took place in St. Peter’s Square on September 30 (booklet, video). The prayer vigil’s purpose was to entrust the Synod’s deliberations to the Holy Spirit.

The prayer vigil’s texts were prepared by the Taizé Community (an ecumenical French monastic community), in collaboration with the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and the Synod of Bishops. Several Christian leaders read prayers or Scripture during the vigil, beginning with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Anne Burghardt of the Lutheran World Federation, Mar Paulus Benjamin of the Assyrian Church of the East, and Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of the Syrian Orthodox Church.

In his homily, Pope Francis stressed the importance of silence. “Silence is essential in the life of the believer,” he preached. “Silence is essential in the life of the Church ... Silence is essential for the journey of Christian unity.”

“That is why, brothers and sisters, in common prayer we ask to learn again to be silent: to listen to the voice of the Father, the call of Jesus and the groaning of the Spirit,” Pope Francis said. “Let us ask that the Synod be a kairós [opportune moment] of fraternity, a place where the Holy Spirit will purify the Church from gossip, ideologies and polarization.”

“As we approach the important anniversary of the great Council of Nicaea, let us ask that we may know how, like the Magi, to worship in unity and in silence the mystery of God made man, certain that the closer we are to Christ, the more united we will be among ourselves,” he concluded. “Brothers and sisters, let us set out together, eager to meet him, worship him and proclaim him, ‘so that the world may believe’” (Jn. 17:21).

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