A group of lay people in India called on the Vatican to extend the primary synthesis stage of the synodal process for another three more months.
“The third wave of [the COVID-19] pandemic is sweeping across the world,” read a letter from the Indian Catholic Forum on January 28.
“As such it is impossible for people to travel or organize physical gatherings, so critical to discerning God’s will for the future of the Church,” it added.
The group said virtual meetings or webinars “are poor substitute for the magic of listening, praying and sharing together.”
The letter said the forum was forced to postpone a national consultation planned in the first week of February in southern India because of the pandemic.
Dioceses all over the world have been required to submit a 10-page synthesis to their national contact person for the synodal process by April 30.
“This is almost impossible in the given circumstances,” said the group.
In December, the council of the laity of India’s Catholic bishops launched programs and seminars to prepare the faithful for the “synod on synodality” in 2023.
The council said it will organize seminars for lay leaders and parish representatives in all 174 Catholic dioceses and the 14 regional councils of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
The Vatican has released relevant guidelines based on which discussions have started in all Catholic dioceses all over the world on October 17.