© Evandro Inetti/EWTN News/Vatican Pool
Vatican City, Oct 27, 2023 / 05:55 am (CNA).
Synod delegates gathered in St. Peter’s Basilica on Wednesday evening to pray the rosary for peace, amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
Their prayer intentions focused on those killed, wounded, and displaced by war. The assembly’s members — a group that, for the first time, includes both bishops and lay people — also reflected on the past month’s work of the Synod, before the first session comes to a close this weekend.
Giuseppina de Simone, Synod delegate and professor of theology, opened the prayer service with a reflection on the work of the Synod.
“In these days of the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, we have experienced that it is really possible to seek together paths for the future, starting from different cultures and histories. We have been given the gift of experiencing unity in diversity in Christ,” said de Simone.
“We are here this evening from many different countries, some of which have taken up arms against each other. And through this Marian prayer, together, we want to demonstrate that it is possible to respect each other, meet and dialogue,” she continued.
Present at the prayer vigil were members of the XVI General Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. © Evandro Inetti/EWTN News/Vatican Pool
This theme of dialogue and unity, and the notion of the Church as a meeting place of different cultures, was a central topic at Pope Francis’ general audience address on Wednesday, Oct. 26.
Following de Simone’s remarks, Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, opened with a prayer and led the candlelight procession out of the atrium, through the 15th-century bronze central door of Saint Peter’s. The group stopped at the beginning of the nave to meditate on the first glorious mystery.
Each decade of the rosary was prayed in a different language and featured a biblical reading and brief meditation, which incorporated different texts from Pope Francis’ pontificate, including Gaudete et exsultate, Evangelii gaudium, Amoris laetitia, and Laudato sì.
After the biblical reading for the first glorious mystery, Cardinal Stephan Chow of Hong Kong reflected on the Synod as a process of encounter and fraternal discernment.
“A synod is a process of seeking the truth and discerning ways together to serve the common good in light of the Gospel.” He continued, “As we pray this mystery, let this joy, that joy of the fraternity of the baptized in Christ that we experienced during the synod, fill our whole being so that we can all exclaim together, ‘Jesus is risen.’”
Between each decade, the choir sang “Dona la pace” (“Lord, give us peace”).
During the mediation on the fourth glorious mystery, Synod member Eva Gullo invoked the Pope’s condemnation of war and violence and renewed his call for peace.
“Enough with the war, with atrocious and senseless violence! Enough with the hatred that does nothing but feed hatred and prevents you from seeing other paths! Enough with the logic of revenge at any cost for the wrongs suffered! Enough with the growing inhumanity that makes the pain and tears of children, the elderly, the disabled, and those who cannot defend themselves deaf and tears,” she said.
Leading up to the fifth, and final mystery, the Synod members reached the Altar of the Chair of St. Peter, where, on the ground, an arrangement of votive candles spelled out the word “pax,” or peace.
The recitation of the rosary concluded at the Altar of the Chair of St. Peter. © Evandro Inetti/EWTN News/Vatican Pool
The meditation on the fifth mystery focused on the pope’s encyclical Laudato sì, and the importance of safeguarding creation.
“Let us pray this mystery, giving thanks for the wonder of creation and asking, through the intercession of Mary, that we assume the commitment to care for our common home, protect nature, create more just relationships, and be closer to the poor and those who suffer to make love grow among us in the image of Trinitarian love and to develop a synodal Church for everyone, everyone, everyone,” said Mauricio Lopez, a member of the commission that prepared the Synod on Synodality and co-founder of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM).
Cardinal Mauro Gambetti praying the Holy Rosary inside Saint Peter’s Basilica on Wednesday evening. Credit: © Evandro Inetti/EWTN News/Vatican Pool
The event closed with the singing of the ancient Marian anthem, ”Sub tuum praesidium” (“Beneath thy protection).
On Oct. 27 the Universal Church joins Pope Francis in his call for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in the Holy Land. There will be a prayer vigil held in St. Peter’s Square that will commence at 6 p.m., CET.