(Transcription of the Video)
Hi, I am Mathew Thomas coming from the United Arab Emirates. I am representing the two vicariates, the vicariate of Southern Arabia and the vicariate of Northern Arabia. In the Southern and Northern Arabia, we have seven countries; the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
So we had a very beautiful synodal experience actually in our vicariates. We have almost one hundred and fifty thousand people as participators in the Synod.
After the inaugural mass, there was a team – actually a team constituted by the bishop, a five-member team – to coordinate the synodal activities in the vicariate and in each and every parish we had a parish synod coordinator. So in every parish we had Synod, the parochial Synod. For all communities we have people from all over the world in our vicariates, from almost hundred and fifty countries, different nationalities, different cultures, different tribes, and people from all communities, ministries, and sodalities took active part in the synodal process.
The fasten foremost, we gave importance that the message of Synod should reach to each and every one, the message of the Synod, so the bishop-there was a video from the bishop which was circulated among all the parishioners and there are other videos we’ve prepared to educate the people about the Synod. And also we had an e-mail send to all the registered members, even to assemblies and to e-mail, the communication was sent to all the parishes.
So finally as a result all one hundred and fifty thousand people participated in the Synod. Among this hundred and fifty thousand around thirty thousand are catechists and children. We have in our vicariate around fifty thousand catechists and children, and all they have participated in the Synod. And also there were a really active participation of the youth in the Synod.
And to reach out to the voiceless, as our Pope Francis say, to reach out to the voiceless we have assigned the Jesus Youth Movement, a pontifically approved movement very active in our vicariate, they have a ministry called the Outreach Ministry, so the Outreach Ministry of the Jesus Youth were assigned to reach out to the people who live in the labor camps for majority of our people in our vicariate lives in the camps. They can’t come to the church on a regular basis. So these volunteers from the Jesus Youth visited each and every labor camps, met them individually, and spoke to them about the Synod, explained them about the Synod and what do the Church expect from them, all that, and they have participated because we had a questionnaire in different languages. So that was what was explained to them and they all helped participators. And also the Samaritan Ministry a charity wing of the church in the vicariate, they were assigned to meet the housemates, the hundreds of housemates were contacted, you know, personally they went and met them and collected their opinion, their feedback from them. So that was also a very beautiful experience and also we’ve contacted some of the people who left the catholic faith. Went to them, you know, like to ask them what is there opinion about the church, you know. And one very interesting thing is that the participation of the children, the catechist and children, very actively they participated and they were explaining how they want the Church to be loved and respected in the world. That was really a very beautiful thing and also I have to mention about the church in Yemen, the tiny church in Yemen, we have around four hundred catholics in Yemen, it is a war-torn country people are facing a lot of issues; where so many sisters of the missionaries of charity were martyred in the previous years. And all of them have participated in the Synod and they sent their Synod report. We had several interactions with them, online, through online media, so that was another wonderful experience.
And I would like to share another experience that the youth from the Jesus Youth Movement, they visited the fishermen from one of the areas in Vasinkaima so they are actually not going to church for two or three years because of bad experience they had from the parish. Initially they were not willing to associate with the youth but later then they frequently went, visit them, talked to them, convinced them, you know, listened to them and finally they are regularly going to the church for the mass and other services. That is the fruit of the Synod.
So this is what I just want to share like we had a very beautiful experience of the Synod and we are going to continue with the synodal process. Then another thing that the synodal team of the vicariate had decided to make a report to the bishop because from each parish we got a report. So based on that report what we need to implement in our parish, what are the areas that we need to improve. That report is given to the bishop for the bishop to continuously monitor with the parish priest and to see that the suggestions from the people are answered. Thank you.