The appeal of the Patriarch SAKO: Never forget the Christians of the East.
If the East would be empty of Christians, then Christianity will remain without roots.
His Beatitude Louis Raphael Card. SAKO, the Patriarch of Babylon for the Chaldeans, as President-delegate for the Synod of Bishops, addresses words of greeting and thanksgiving to the Holy Father Francis, in the closing of the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (3-28 October 2018), which was dedicated for the theme: “Young people, faith and vocational discernment”.
Here below follows the complete text of His Beatitude:
Dear Synod Fathers,
Dear young people,
In the name of all the participants in this synod, I would like to express our gratitude to Your Holiness Pope Francis for having convened this Synod on the theme “Young people, Faith and vocational discernment”, which was for each of us a strong time of prayer, reflection, and responsible, free and courageous dialogue. It has been a climate of very constructive synodality. We Easterners are used to the synod and to the synodality. But, experiencing synodality with the whole Church has a very special flavour, thanks to the Holy Spirit. This is found nowhere else, except in the Catholic church. We have been united despite the differences between our countries, languages and cultures, because Christ unites us and sends us on the same mission to proclaim the Gospel and to serve our brothers and sisters with joy and enthusiasm.
The whole of the Catholic Church has been present in this Synod through its representatives, but in the particular way the presence of the Holy Father, the successor of Peter, head and father of the Catholic Church. Through your almost daily presence, gentle listening, paternal accompany and prophetic words, we have managed to produce this “Final Document”, which will undoubtedly be a point of reference for new pastoral ministry in our different dioceses. Thus, we should return home with so many ideas, plans and projects for the future.
The synod was a gift for us and for the whole Church. What we have considered as lines of force, we have experienced it with a deep awareness, with fraternity, dynamism and joy. We are truly touched, edified and transformed. We have walked to the path of listening, discernment and accompaniment. This was exceptional for us and for our young people. We have walked to this path with much love and communion under Your Leadership.
You are not alone. We are with you. We are through all our Catholic bishops throughout the world that we represent are with you. We are united with you in an integral communion. We are united with you in prayer and in hope. Remember that millions of the faithful pray for you every day, and so many men and women of good will admire your words and gestures for a world of more universal brotherhood, justice and peace. Therefore, there is nothing to fear. An Arabic proverb says: “The fruitful tree is stoned”. Go ahead with courage and trust. Peter’s barque is not like the other barques, Peter’s barque despite the waves it will remain solid, because Jesus is in it and he will never leave it.
With him the challenges and the sufferings are overcome with faith, prayer, mercy, sincerity, firmness, integrity and transparency. Everything is clear, nothing is hidden. We must remember the fidelity and the dedication of thousands of bishops and priests, religious men and women, to their mission.
Today we bring this Synod to close and we renew our love for the Lord and for his Church until the end. In fact, I invite all the young people in the world to raise their voices and to use their charism to build a more fraternal and more just society with greater peace.
I would like to conclude by making an appeal to Your Holiness, the Synod Fathers and the young people: Never forget the Christians of the East. If the East would be empty of Christians, then Christianity will remain without roots. We need your humanitarian and spiritual support and your solidarity, friendship and closeness until the tempest passes (Cf. Psalm 57,2).
Thank you very much for the Secretary General His Eminence Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, for the Under-Secretary His Excellency Monsignor Fabio Fabene, their collaborators, and all those who have worked for this synod. Everything was excellent.
May the Lord and His Mother bless you and bless the Church.
+ Louis Raphael Sako