Without Prayer there will be no Synod

Letter from the Cardinal Mario Grech to the Bishops of the World

In a letter addressed to bishops and eparchs from all over the world, Cardinal Mario Grech, General Secretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod, invites the faithful from around the world to prayerfully participate in the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that will open in the Vatican on 4 October.

With this letter, the General Secretary reminds everyone that the Synodal Assembly is above all a spiritual event, of prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit who is the true protagonist of the event. In order to facilitate participation and solicit the prayerful support of the members of the assembly from local communities, the General Secretariat of the Synod has prepared a “Solemn Blessing” to be recited, in particular, at the end of Sunday Masses together with intercessory prayers. The Latin original is attached (translations are only working documents to facilitate the local Churches).

Respecting the richness of the liturgical tradition of the Oriental Catholic Churches sui iuris, the letter was also sent to the leaders of those Churches with a request to implement a similar blessing and intercessions in their Divine Liturgies.

Cardinal Grech’s appeal is part of a series of initiatives aimed at recalling the eminently spiritual character of the synodal assembly and promoting the participation of the entire People of God through prayer,

  • the creation, already in 2021, in collaboration with the World Pope’s Prayer Network and the UISG (International Union of Superiors General), of a site (www.prayforthesynod.va) that proposes a specific prayer time for the Synod every first Monday of the month;
  • the Ecumenical Prayer Vigil (www.together2023.net) on 30 September on the eve of the Synod broadcast in live-streaming from 4.30 p.m. on Vatican News channels (vaticannews.va);
  • a spiritual retreat for assembly members prior to the opening of the assembly (1-3 October 2023).


For the XXV and XXVI Sundays of Ordinary Time (A) which precede the opening of the Synod Assembly, we propose several intentions for Universal Prayer:

For the Church, on the eve of a new phase in the synodal journey, that the presence of the Gospel, alive and at work in her, may make her like the vineyard in the parable, a vital place where all men and women who seek meaning in their life find a place, a word, and a breath of hope, we pray;

For the bishops and all the participants in the Synodal Assembly, that proposals may spring forth from their listening to the Holy Spirit, so that the entire People of God, in a dynamism of communion, may feel that they are truly participating in the life of the Church and be a living and attractive witness to the newness of the Gospel in the world, we pray;

For theologians: may the gifts of wisdom and revelation accompany their contribution to the work of the Synodal Assembly, so that the gift of faith may become life in all God’s people, we pray;

For young people, seekers of truth and authentic witness, concreteness and spirituality; that, as a result of the synodal journey, they may feel increasingly involved in the Church’s life and mission in the midst of the challenges of today’s world, giving to so many, with the enthusiasm of their age, the hope that springs from an encounter with Jesus, we pray;

For us gathered here in communion with Christian communities throughout the world: that by tasting the goodness of the Lord that comes to each one in the body and blood of Jesus, we may receive from him a fresh view of our neighbor and be made witnesses to generosity in the world in which we live, we pray.


These proposed intercessory prayers can be used on a weekday either as a Universal Prayer during the Eucharistic Celebration or as intercessions at Vespers. To the Holy Spirit, Creator and Lord of the Church who guides her through time and gently urges her ever onward, we address this supplication:

R. Come, You who ever makes all things new!

Come, Holy Spirit, soul of the Church: gather into unity and make fruitful the toil, the hope, and the desire of each one involved in the Synod Assembly, we invoke you;

Come, gentle Breath of God, who in Jesus revives the dwindling flame, and restore vigor to the bruised reed, we call upon you;

Come, Creator Spirit, who restores parched bones, gathers the lost, and brings into dialogue languages that do not recognize each other, we beseech you;

Come, burning fire of God, who purifies every vain thought, burning and transforming every sadness into the joy of new birth, we implore you;

Come, Beauty of the lowly and the poor, build up the beautiful bride of the Lamb through the tears of those who love peace and hunger for justice, we invoke you;

Come, God’s Forgiveness, and convert us to your breath that reconciles us for a new fellowship, we call upon you;

Come, unapproachable Wisdom, and fill us with your synodal gifts, we beseech you;

Come, unfailing Hope of the Church, and stir up dreams and desires according to the heart of God which, to the human eye, seems impossible, we implore you.

Lettera ai Vescovi – IT-EN-ES-PT-FR

LT_Testo Benedictio Sollemnis