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Pope Meeting Bishops Personally at Synod

14/10/2005: Vatican

The Synod of Bishops is giving Benedict XVI a privileged view of the life of the universal Church. Since the synodal assembly on the Eucharist began Oct. 2, the Pope has able to attend at least the first and last session of each day. The last session of the day, 6-7 p.m., is dedicated to free interventions. Each participant may speak for three minutes on any of the synods topics. It is also a way for the Pope to take the pulse of the life of the Church and to hear different points of view.
During the coffee break of the morning session, the Holy Father speaks personally with the bishops, who are divided in working groups by languages. The meetings between the working groups and the Pope have been held daily in a room near the main auditorium of Paul VI Hall, according to Isidro Catela, a synod spokesman. About 40 people attend the meetings.
Each of the synods participants, not only the bishops, greet the Pope and speak with him for about a minute.
The Pope is concerned about each one and about their lives. He gives each his undivided attention during those moments, disclosed Catela. The bishops use the opportunity to speak about the life of their dioceses.
At the request of the synodal assembly, there may be an hour of Eucharistic adoration, both in the morning and the afternoon, in the chapel of the synod hall.
Most of the participants are housed in the Domus Sanctae Marthae (which housed the cardinals during the conclave) or in the Child Mary Institute, both in Vatican territory.
Two-hundred fifty-two ecclesiastics are attending the synod. Four seats are empty; these represent the Chinese bishops who didnt receive government approval to attend.
The assemblys first proposals will begin to be written in Thursdays working sessions. After being discussed and corrected in the general assembly, the proposals will be included in the synods conclusions.
The proposals will be presented to the Pope for use in a postsynodal apostolic letter. The synod closes Oct. 23.

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