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Apostolic Movement

Schoenstatt Bishop at the Synod: Creating “the Church of the new shores”

By: Karen Bueno / Octavio Galarce

Among the Schoenstatters summoned to the Synodal Assembly is Bishop Ramón Alfredo de la Cruz Baldera. He serves as Bishop of San Francisco de Macoris, in the Dominican Republic, and belongs to the Institute of Schoenstatt Diocesan Priests.

According to Bishop Ramón, Schoenstatt and the Covenant of Love can become very significant in the context of the Synod. He wants to transmit the charism of Father Joseph Kentenich in the Assembly and, in particular, to help in the formation of the Church of the “new shores”.

The XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will consist of two sessions, one year apart: the first from October 4-29, 2023, the second in October 2024.

The following is the full interview with Bishop Ramón Baldera:

What was it like for you to receive this call and what contributions do you hope to bring to the Synod on Synodality?

Receiving a call to participate in the Synod has been a sign from our Lord Jesus to collaborate in the development of the Church of the new shores. As soon as I received confirmation of my participation as a delegate, I thought that the time had come to transmit the prophetic voice of our Father and Founder when he dreamed of the Church of the future. I believe that if Father Kentenich were alive, he would have strongly supported Pope Francis in this great mission of renewal and ecclesial transformation.
My contribution to the synodal meeting might focus on fostering fraternal dialogue, the understanding that this process is the work of the Holy Spirit and that this Spirit is the protagonist in whatever decision is made. I will strive at all times to bear in mind Father Kentenich’s proposal for a Church which, from different lifestyles and ways of thinking, forms a single mystical body and is, at the same time, a Church that moves united towards the Heavenly Father.

As a member of the Schoenstatt Institute of Diocesan Priests, do you think that your experience of the Covenant of Love can help in the synod? In what way?

The experience in the Schoenstatt Movement and with the Covenant of Love could be very valuable at the Synod. The Covenant of Love promotes a personal relationship with the Virgin Mary and with God, and that spirituality could offer unique perspectives on how to renew and strengthen the Church from within. We cannot forget that the Blessed Virgin must be present amid the group reflections, discussions, and exchanges. Her maternal love should strengthen our fraternal bond.

In your opinion, what is the greatest challenge of this Synod?

One of the greatest challenges of the Synod could be the search for a consensus on controversial issues within the Church. The polarization between different currents of thought could make finding a common understanding complicated. However, the Holy Father has made us increasingly aware that the Synod is not a parliament, it is a meeting of brothers among brothers. We should be a manifestation of that unity to which Jesus invites and challenges us: “that they may all be one” (Jn 17:21). Another challenge is to understand those who expect a response from the Church that is faithful to doctrine and tradition. I am aware that this fear of new things always causes confusion in us, but I want to echo the Lord’s words: “Take courage, for it is I, do not be afraid” (Mt. 6:50).

In the face of so many polarizations, how do you intend to seek the balance and discernment necessary for your reflections?

In the face of polarizations, seeking balance and discernment could involve opening spaces for sincere dialogue, listening to multiple perspectives and using a discernment informed by theology, tradition and the current realities of the Church and the world. It is necessary to pause and listen.


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