VATICAN CITY — Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles and 34 other clergymen were announced Sept. 18 by the Vatican as synod fathers for the upcoming assembly of bishops on the New Evangelization.
The synod fathers include Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the college of cardinals; Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna; Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England; Bishop Dominique Rey of Frejus-Toulon, France; and Father Julian Carron of the Communion and Liberation movement.
Archbishop Gomez is the only American among the 35 synod fathers, who are tasked with guiding the discussions of the assembly’s meetings.
"I am both grateful and humbled that our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has appointed me to the special Synod of Bishops next month in Rome," Archbishop Gomez stated. "This appointment also signals the significance of the Los Angeles Archdiocese — one of the world’s largest and most diverse archdioceses — in the promotion of the New Evangelization. The synod’s focus, 'New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith,' is especially important because each of us is called by our baptism to tell the world about Jesus and about the joy of believing in him."
The archbishop added, "Jesus is the answer to every question in every human heart, yet communicating this simple but profound truth in today's world can often be a challenging task. I look forward to collaborating with my brother bishops from throughout the world and the Holy Father as we address the New Evangelization in this special synod."
The synod is due to take place Oct. 7-28, and its president delegates are Cardinals John Tong Hon of Hong Kong, Francisco Ortega of Guadalajara, and Laurent Pasinya of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It will bring bishops to Rome from the whole world to discuss the New Evangelization, which is aimed at reintroducing the Catholic faith in lands where it was previously present.
The gathering will be guided by a working document, issued June 19, which is the result of consultation with the worldwide Church for more than a year.
According to that document, the New Evangelization must provide “an adequate response to the signs of the times, to the needs of individuals and people of today and to the new sectors with their cultures, through which we express our identity and the meaning of our lives.”
The synod coincides with the Year of Faith, which will begin Oct. 11 and is meant to be a moment of grace to strengthen Christians’ faith and joy in proclaiming Christ to the world.
The synod of bishops was established in 1965 by Pope Paul VI to “foster the unity and cooperation of bishops around the world with the Holy See.”
There are two categories of synod: general and special. The last special gathering was held in 2010 to focus on the Church in the Middle East, while the last general assembly was held in 2008 on the “Word of God.” The upcoming meeting on evangelization will fall into the general category and will be the 13th of its kind.