VATICAN CITY CNS – The whole point of synodality is to serve the Catholic Church's mission of evangelization, an archbishop told participants in the assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
"As we talk about what processes, structures and institutions are needed in a missionary synodal church, we need to make sure that these do in fact assist the mission of bringing the good news to those who are in need of salvation," Lithuanian Archbishop Gintaras Grušas of Vilnius said in his homily during a Mass with synod participants Oct. 18.
The Mass, celebrated at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter's Basilica, opened the fourth and final module of synod assembly, which is centered on "participation, governance and authority" and intended to respond to the question, "What processes, structures and institutions in a missionary synodal Church?"
"Synodality, including its structures and meetings, must be at the service of the church's mission of evangelization and not become an end in itself," Archbishop Grušas said.
Celebrating the Mass on the feast of St. Luke, the archbishop, who is president of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences, said that in St. Luke's Gospel the evangelist "often highlights the role of women in the life of the church and in announcing the good news."
"St. Luke is the Marian evangelist par excellence," the archbishop said, but he also highlighted the examples of "the Samaritan woman at the well who announced the Messiah, Mary Magdalene, the first to announce the message of the Resurrection, as well as the various women throughout the Acts of the Apostles who assisted the growth of the early church."
"If Luke were documenting the synod, thanks be to God, he would find many of the themes that he favored at the forefront of our own deliberations in these days," he said.
Archbishop Grušas noted that both in St. Luke's Gospel and in the Acts of the Apostle, the evangelist "clearly shows that the Holy Spirit is the protagonist in the life and growth of the church," repeating a quote from Pope Francis which has become a refrain among synod participants.
The participants trickled into St. Peter's Basilica before the Mass while a Rome seminary choir sang hymns. Moments of silence during the Mass were occasionally breached by the sound of cheers from Pope Francis' general audience taking place in St. Peter's Square.
Although only 20% of synod members are not cardinals or bishops, Archbishop Grušas insisted that "in the announcement of the kingdom, the equality of all the baptized comes to the forefront."
"All are called to this, not just ordained ministers," he said. "It is important that all the baptized hear this call, this vocation, and respond to it, committing their lives, words and actions to Jesus' mission."