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Synod 2023: Participants to include two bishops from mainland China, Archbishop Paglia

Pope Francis greets Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, on Feb. 20, 2023. / Credit: Vatican Media

Vatican City, Sep 21, 2023 / 09:00 am (CNA).

Two bishops from mainland China and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia of the Pontifical Academy for Life are among several additions to who will participate in the Synod on Synodality assembly next month.

The leadership of the synod on Thursday released the final list of participants for the first session of the assembly, which will begin Oct. 4 and end Oct. 28.

Bishop Giuseppe Yang Yongqiang of Zhoucun in Shandon Province and Bishop Antonio Yao Shun of Jining, in the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia, were nominated by Pope Francis from a list approved by the Chinese government, Bishop Luis Marín de San Martín, undersecretary of the synod, told journalists Sept. 21.

The two bishops from mainland China are late additions and will participate together with Archbishop Stephen Chow of Hong Kong and Bishop Norbert Pu of Kiayi, Taiwan, who were already on a list of synod members published by the Vatican in July.

Two Chinese bishops also took part in the 2018 youth synod.

Archbishop Paglia, who leads the Vatican academy on life issues, was also added to the list of synod members as a pontifical nomination.

Cardinal Luis Ladaria, who recently concluded his term as prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, will no longer participate in the synodal assembly, San Martín said, noting that Ladaria had asked Pope Francis directly to withdraw.

The Vatican also published Thursday a general schedule for the October assembly, which will begin with an opening Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Oct. 4 and close with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Oct. 29.

Each week’s work will include a day off for participants on Sunday, as well as Masses and other times of prayer, including a half-day pilgrimage, praying the rosary in the Vatican Gardens, and a prayer service dedicated to migrants and refugees.

On Oct. 28, members with voting rights will express their approval or disapproval of a document summarizing the three and a half weeks of proceedings.

The other new additions to the synod assembly are:

Cardinal Paulo Cezar Costa of Brasilia from the episcopal conference of Brazil

Sister Mary Theresa Barron, OLA, president of the International Union of Superiors General

Sister Maria Nirmalini, AC, superior general of the Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel

Margaret Karram, president of the Focolare Movement

Newly added as experts and facilitators:

Andrew Spiteri from Australia

Sister Christina Danel, superior general of the Congregation of Xavières, from France

Péter Szabó from Hungary

Eva Gullo from Italy

Father Mario Antonelli from Italy

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