2012-10-06 L’Osservatore Romano
Record attendance at the Synod: 262 is the highest number of participants in the history of all the Assemblies, nine more than the last Ordinary Assembly which took place in 2008. About to “begin the great adventure of the Synod” are more than 400 people including technical personnel, assistants, translators and the press. According to Archbishop Nikola Eterović, General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, “the increase in the number of participants acknowledges the commitment of all those who contribute to the mission of the new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith”. In order to outline the profile of the Assembly, the prelate met with journalists for a briefing in the Holy See Press Office on Friday morning, 5 October. Presenting the Synodal Fathers, the General Secretary noted that 103 are from Europe, 63 from the Americas, 50 from Africa, 39 from Asia and 7 from Oceania.
During the briefing, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, noted that there are 69 Council Fathers still living and at least “a dozen will be present at the Mass on 11 October in St Peter's Square for the opening of the Year of Faith”. In addition, “on Friday morning, 12 October, the Council Fathers will concelebrate Mass at the Tomb of St Peter”, he explained. Then at 12:30 p.m. they will have an audience with the Pope. Some, he stated, will not be able to be present for reasons of age (the three eldest are 102 years-old) and of health”. At the moment, the Director of the Holy See Press Office confirmed the presence of 12 Council Fathers: Cardinal Francis Arinze, Cardinal Serafim Fernandes de Araújo, Archbishop Hilarion Capucci, Bishop José Mauro Ramalho de Alarcón Santiago, Bishop Yves-Georges-René Ramousse, Bishop Georges-Hilarie Dupont, Bishop Felice Leonardo, Bishop Luigi Bettazzi, Bishop José de Jesús Sahagún de la Parra, Bishop Robert-Casimir Tonyui Messan Dosseh-Anyron, Bishop William John McNaughton and Bishop Roberto Cáceres.