Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 19, 2005
Archbishop to address Synod
Archbishop Thomas Collins will speak on the transcendental dimensions of the Eucharist
By GLEN ARGAN
Archbishop Thomas Collins will use the Canadian bishops as a sounding board this week for his talk to the world Synod of Bishops next month at the Vatican.
Collins is one of five Canadian bishops who will be among the 250 prelates attending the Oct. 2-23 world synod on the Eucharist.
Also representing the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will be Bishops Gerald Wiesner of Prince George, Clement Fecteau of Ste-Anne-de-la-Pocatiere and Paul-Andre Durocher of Alexandria-Cornwall. Pope Benedict appointed Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec City as another synod delegate.
Only six minutes
While Collins will only have six minutes to address the synod, for months he’s been honing his talk on his topic – the transcendental dimension of the Eucharist.
It’s tradition for the Canadian synod delegates to give their presentations to the annual CCCB assembly before flying to Rome, Collins said. The Canadian bishops give their feedback, allowing the delegates to make last-minute adjustments.
The Edmonton archbishop is impressed by the wide consultation that has gone into the synod.
In early 2004, the Vatican’s synod office sent out the lineamenta – a sort of thematic outline for the synod – to all the world’s bishops. The bishops were invited to send their comments to the Vatican, where they were compiled and the synod’s working document – the instrumentum laboris – was issued this July.
“You get a very wide consultation in the early stages of this,” Collins said.
Meanwhile, the four CCCB delegates got together in March to coordinate their own talks for the synod.
At the synod itself, bishops will deliver their speeches and at the end of every day the first two weeks, an open discussion will be held. Then, in the final week, the bishops will meet in smaller groups to develop final proposals to give to the pope.
A year or two later, the pope issues an “apostolic exhortation” based on the synod theme.
Collins said those post-synodal documents from the popes have been “massively important” in the life of the Church. Pope John Paul’s document on the training of priests — I Will Give You Shepherds — has, for example, shaped and transformed every seminary in the world.
Other documents, such as those on the laity, religious life, reconciliation, catechesis and the family, have also had an effect on life in the Church, he said.
This year’s synod on the Eucharist, the archbishop said, will not change the Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist. But it should help the Church be “more faithful, more appropriate” in celebrating the Eucharist.
The synod delegates, he said, will discuss topics such as:
- How can we help people appreciate the Eucharist more;
- How can the Eucharist be, in practice, a source of unity in the Church;
- Problems in the celebration of the Eucharist;
- How the Eucharist can meet the needs of different cultures.
“There is no development of doctrine here,” he said.
Does Collins have his own agenda for the synod? Is there anything he would like to see it accomplish?
“No,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to it. I’m honoured to be taking part.”