Inauguration of the Special Assembly for the Middle East
At 9.30 this morning, 10 October 2010, XXVIII Sunday in ordinary time, in St. Peter’s Basilica, at the tomb of the Apostle Peter, the Holy Father Benedict XVI presided at the Solemn Concelebration of the Eucharist with the Synodal Fathers, for the Inauguration of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in the Synod Hall of the Vatican until 24 October 2010, on the theme: The Catholic Church in the Middle East:Communion and Witness. “Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul” (Acts 4:32).
The entrance into the Basilica began at 9.15 with the singing of the Laudes regiae. The Concelebrants, led by the Masters of Ceremony took their places around the Altar of Confession. Then Their Eminences and the Components of the Presidency of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops joined the Holy Father in the entrance procession.
Concelebrating with the Pope were 177 Synod Fathers (19 Cardinals, 9 Patriarchs, 72 Archbishops, 67 Bishops and 10 Priests) and 69 Collaborators.
At the start of the Concelebration, during the Rite of the Aspergillum presided over by the Holy Father, the choir and assembly sang “Asperges me”.
The Presidents Delegate H. B. Card. Nasrallah Pierre SFEIR, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Bishop of Joubbé, Sarba and Jounieh of the Maronites (LEBANON), ad honorem, H. B. Card. Emmanuel III DELLY, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans (IRAQ) , ad honorem, H. Em. Card. Leonardo SANDRI, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches (VATICAN CITY), H. B. Ignace Youssif III YOUNAN, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians (LEBANON); General Relator H. B. Antonios NAGUIB, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts (ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT);General Secretary H. Exc. Mons. Nikola ETEROVIĆ, Titular Archbishop of Cibalae (VATICAN CITY); Special Secretary H. Exc. Mons. Joseph SOUEIF, Archbishop of Cyprus of the Maronites (CYPRUS) all joined at the Altar for the Eucharistic Prayer.
The first reading was in English, the responsorial Psalm in Italian and the second reading in French. The Gospel was proclaimed in Latin and in Greek. The Prayer of the Faithful was in English, Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, Farsi. The songs “Ubi Caritas”, in Latin, and “Bread of Life”, in Arabic, accompanied the Offertory; “Beati Pacifici”, in Latin, and “My Soul Thirsts for You”, in Arabic, accompanied Communion. At the end of the celebration, the Marian antiphon “Ave Regina Caelorum” was sung.
During the Sacred Rite, after the proclamation of the Gospel, the Holy Father pronounced the following homily: