This piece was cowritten by Jack Figge and Kate Cavanaugh
CV News Feed // Delegates at the Synod on Synodality were immersed in the beauty and grandeur of the Greek-Melkite Liturgy in a mass that opened the second week of the synod.
His Beatitude, Youssef Absi, the Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church since 2017, celebrated the Mass. Absi is a voting member of the synod, representing the Eastern Church.
The liturgy deviated from the daily readings, using Matthew 9, the commissioning of the 12 apostles, instead of the parable of the Good Samaritan. Cardinal Bechara Rai, the patriarch of the Maronite Church, delivered the homily.
In his homily, Rai connected Jesus noting that the harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few to the number of issues that face the synod.
“As for the laborers of the harvest, according to the Instrumentum Laboris, they are those sent by Christ and led by the Holy Spirit, the protagonist of the mission entrusted to the Church and thus of the whole synodal journey,” said Rai. “We read in the Instrumentum Laboris that in a synodal assembly Christ makes himself present and acts, transforms history and daily events, grants the Spirit that guides the Church to find a consensus on how to walk together toward the Kingdom.”
Rai noted certain issues mentioned in the Instrumentum Laboris, the synod’s working document, that delegates must address, including war, economic inequality, climate change, and how to bring healing to those affected by abuse.
“With this morning’s Holy Mass, we were able to savour the richness of one of the rites of our One and multifaceted Church,” said Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg, during the synodal congregation that followed the mass.
The liturgy was celebrated ad orientem, using leavened bread for the consecration. The faithful received communion by intinction, where the Holy Eucharist is dipped into the sacred blood and then placed onto the recipient’s tongue.
Two icons sat in front of the altar, one of the Madonna and Jesus overlayed with silver, and the other depicting Christ the King. A triple candlestick, commonly used in Greek liturgies, also decorated the altar.
During the Credo, the main celebrant bowed while two priests shook golden fabric over his head.
As about a dozen priests in intricate golden vestments processed with the leavened bread and wine, delegates watched intently, some with wrinkled brows or hands folded in prayer.
A choir of young men from the Pontifical Greek College of Saint Athanasius chanted intently, crying “Hosanna!” in the heart of the Catholic Church.
Following the conclusion of the liturgy, participants proceeded to the Pope Paul VI Audience Hall to begin week two of the synod.