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Pope Francis Issues Apostolic Constitution ‘In Ecclesiarum Communione’ Reorganizing Diocese of Rome in Face of ‘Epochal Change’…

Cardinal Angelo De Donatis is vicar of Rome, which has seven auxiliary bishops. Pope Francis on Jan. 6 appointed Rome auxiliary Bishop Baldassare Reina the vicariate’s new vicegerent. The pope also, with a decree, changed the assignments entrusted to each auxiliary bishop.

In the reorganization, Pope Francis emphasized a synodal approach, including the operation of an episcopal council, “the apex place of discernment and of pastoral and administrative decisions concerning the Diocese and Vicariate of Rome.”

According to the new constitution, the council, which consists of the vicegerent and auxiliary bishops, should meet at least three times per month, and be presided over by Pope Francis, or, in his absence, Cardinal De Donatis.

Article 1 of the constitution states that “every activity carried out within the scope of the Vicariate of Rome, at whatever level and with whatever degree of responsibility, is always by its nature pastoral, oriented according to the synodal style…”

In the constitution’s preface Pope Francis listed “some of the most serious and urgent commitments” of the Vicariate of Rome, including the proclamation of the Gospel, the witness of charity, the promotion of a synodal style and practices, the fostering of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, the administration of the sacraments, and the pastoral care of families and young people.

He also asked for prudent and vigilant economic management.

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