Thursday, October 18, 2018

A bit of Canada in Rome

Today was another work day. In the morning we listened to the final interventions (i.e. 4-minute speeches) from the remaining synod members, in preparation for going into our final set of small group sessions. The four delegates representing the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops decided to have a group photo taken on the terrace of the Paul VI Hall:

From left to right: me; Archbishop Luc Cyr (Sherbrooke); Bishop Lionel Gendron (Saint-Jean-Longueuil, President of the CCCB); and Bishop Stephen Jensen (Prince-George).

After lunch we came back to meet in our small group for discussions on the final part (part III) of the Instrumentum laboris. It was challenging, to say the least, not because of any internal dissension in the group, but because part III itself was hard to get a handle on. As well, a change in the overall synod calendar meant that we would have one less session for study and discussion. We spent a big chunk of our meeting just trying to figure out the direction we wanted to take as a group.

Fortunately, the evening offered an opportunity to relax. A van was waiting to pick up the Canadians, we take us to the official residence of the Ambassador of Canada to the Holy See. There, we were warmly received by M. Dennis Savoie and his wife Claudette. Along with a few guests who had already arrived, we were treated to a lovely meal together.

When the meal was over we went into the parlour of the residence to continue sharing friendship and even some music! Father Pierre Paul (seen in the photo in grey) is quite the pianist, and soon a group of us were singing along to pieces he was playing. It made the think that this is probably how people used to keep themselves entertained before television and smartphones. Not a bad way to live, at all.

Mr. and Mrs. Savoie are coming to the end of their time in Rome, as Mr. Savoie's term as ambassador will soon be up. It was a pleasure to be able to share this time with them. Many thanks for your hospitality and your service to Canada and the Holy See!

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