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An SS.CC. participating in the Synod on Family

14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops began on Sunday 4 October 2015 with a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica. The three week meeting will be discussing the theme "The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the modern world". At the conclusion of the Synod on 25 October 2015, a list of proposals will be given to the Pope that will be the basis for the Pope’s magisterial document.

The Synod of Bishops started 50 years ago, towards the end of the Second Vatican Council. It is an international group of bishops who meet upon the Pope's request to delve into a pressing issue for the Church. This time the Synod participants consist of 270 bishops from across the globe, 75 auditors and experts, lay and religious, and 14 representatives from other Christian Churches.

Javier Álvarez-Ossorio sscc, Superior General of brothers, is one of the ten superiors general chosen to represent the Union of Superiors General as synodal members with the right to vote (see the yellow arrow in the photo). Among the Synod participants there are 30 women, including religious sisters, married couples and professional women working in different areas of family ministry.

The first working day of the Synod has started at 9am on Monday 5 October. The meeting is structured to allow more time for small group discussions, known as Circuli Minores, where all members can play a more active part in the discussion. Less time is to be spent on lengthy presentations of the General Assembly and a stronger focus is given to smaller and more participatory language group work, where non-voting members – and non-Catholics - can make their contributions to the discussion.