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We thank FutureChurch for this commentary


Along with Synod participants, thousands filled St. Peter’s Square this evening for a prayer service to open the Synod. Several couples gave testimonies about their lives. One couple told the story of their separation and reunion during a difficult period of their marriage.


Prelates lined up in chairs and appearing later in the service Pope Francis offered hopeful words prioritizing mercy over rigid adherence to unbending rules.


He asked for three things.


1.  The gift of listening for the synod fathers: to listen in the manner of God, so that they may hear, with him, the cry of the people; to listen to the people, until they breathe the will to which God calls us.

2.  Openness toward a sincere discussion and a spirit of fraternity

3.  A willingness to be able to overcome situations of difficulty with persistence, patience and creativity

As he ended he prayed, “The wind of Pentecost blow upon the Synod’s work, on the Church and on all of humanity….Undo the knots which prevent people from encountering one another, heal the wounds that bleed, rekindle hope.”


Let’s hope that Pope Francis gets at least a little of what he wants. We know Catholics stand with him in hoping for the same.