Sept. 29, 2005
Professor Invited to Serve at Synod of Bishops
Rev. Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B.
Rev. Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B., the Katharine Drexel Professor of Religious Studies, has been invited by Pope Benedict XVI to serve as an expert for the upcoming Synod of the Bishops on the Eucharist, an assembly convened every three years in Rome to review major issues facing the church’s life and mission.
This year’s synod, “The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church," will emphasize the importance of the role of the Eucharist in the Church and marks the close of the "Year of the Eucharist." More than 250 bishops from every continent will attend the three-week council, which starts Oct. 3.
Moloney is the only resident of the United States who has been asked to serve as an expert at the synod. As an expert he will be asked to participate in group sessions held during the synod and will be instrumental in shaping the final written document that is issued by the assembly. Four American bishops are expected to participate as representatives of the American Episcopal Conference as well: Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia; Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory; Pittsburgh Bishop Donald W. Wuerl; and Bishop William Skylstad, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“Father Moloney’s appointment is an important acknowledgment from the
international community of his scriptural and theological expertise,” said Monsignor
Kevin Irwin, dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies and the
Monsignor Walter J. Schmitz Professor of Liturgical Studies. “Since he was
educated in Rome and served for three terms as a member of the International
Theological Commission, he is uniquely qualified to serve this international
gathering of bishops and chosen representatives. It is also an honor for the CUA community since the Vatican has
chosen one from our faculty to be a part of this important synod.”
Moloney is a biblical studies expert who has written several publications on the topics that will be discussed at the synod, including the book “A Body Broken for a Broken People: Eucharist in the New Testament” (Hendrickson Publishers, 1997, 2nd Ed.).
“This gathering is intended to help shape the education of lay people about the Eucharist, helping them come to a deeper understanding of the Eucharist as the center of their lives,” Moloney said. “I would say most Church-going Catholics have a sense of that already, but we’ll be working to make these ideas better understood.”
Attendees of the synod are selected in several stages. The pope usually nominates a group of experts and observers (called “auditors”) to attend along with the bishops elected to participate by their respective Episcopal conferences. The pope will preside over the synod, which begins with a plenary session of all the attendees, then breaks up into smaller working sessions organized by languages spoken by group members. Moloney will be participating in those group sessions, and also will be one of the theologians who will work to produce a draft document that will be voted on by the full assembly before it is sent to the pope for review. The pope typically will issue a public communication based on the synod’s conclusions, such as an exhortation or encyclical.
For more information about the synod, visit: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0505432.htm.
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