Since the institution of the Synod of Bishops 50 years ago, Synod Fathers have rarely been youthful. But the youngest participant ever entered the New Synod Hall Monday — in a stroller pushed by his mother.
His name is Davide, and he is four months old. The little tyke is the son of Patricia and Massimo Paloni, a couple who were appointed auditors to the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The Vatican meeting, which runs until Oct. 25, is dedicated to “the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world.”
“Davide has become the center of attention for the bishops,” said Father Manuel Dorantes, assistant in the Spanish language section of the Vatican press office. “They all want a picture with the youngest of the synod fathers.”
The baby’s crying and smiles changed the solemn air of the assembly. Yesterday morning the Davide’s parents, who are engaged in family ministry, entered the Synod accompanied by the youngest of their 12 children.
After a good bottle, the little one allowed Pope Francis to give his opening statement. Wrapped in a blanket, the boy rested during the historical event, which required the attention to 270 synod fathers from four continents.
But he soon sought his mom’s attention again and was quickly in her arms. Without seeking any prominence, Davide’s interventions became a notable focus for the first day of the Synod.
While cardinals, bishops, priests and experts took a break to discuss the proceedings, Mrs. Paloni prepared a second diaper change. Close by, she kept a case full of powder, wipes and other items that come in handy whenever they travel with Davide.
Davide’s parents are from Rome, but as members of the Neocatechumenal Way they have been missionaries in the diocese of Roermond, in Maastricht in the Netherlands since 2004.
This article originally was published by Aleteia’s Spanish edition.