Archbishop José Gomez, one of 36 cardinals, bishops and priests named by Pope Benedict XVI to serve as full members of the Synod of Bishops next month, said this week he was “both grateful and humbled” by the appointmentThe synod is scheduled for Oct. 7-28 at the Vatican to explore the theme, "New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith." The papal appointees, whose names were announced Sept. 18, will join more than 200 other synod members who were elected by their national bishops' conference, serve as the head of a Vatican office or were elected by the Union of Superiors General, the organization for the heads of men's religious orders.“This appointment signals the significance of the Los Angeles Archdiocese — one of the world’s largest and most diverse archdioceses — in the promotion of the New Evangelization,” said Archbishop Gomez. “The synod’s focus, ‘New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith,’ is especially important because each of us is called by our baptism to tell the world about Jesus and about the joy of believing in him. Jesus is the answer to every question in every human heart, yet communicating this simple but profound truth in today's world can often be a challenging task. I look forward to collaborating with my brother bishops from throughout the world and the Holy Father as we address the New Evangelization in this special Synod.”Other American bishops elected by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio, and Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson. Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington was appointed by Pope Benedict to serve as the synod's recording secretary.This week, Pope Benedict nominated 45 experts and 49 observers for the synod, choosing men and women from every part of the world and from a wide variety of professions. The gathering will include the largest bloc of women — 10 experts and 19 observers — ever to participate in a world Synod of Bishops. Europe accounts for the overwhelming majority of the appointees, followed by North America, with 10 people from the United States, two from Mexico and one from Canada. A number of the appointees are also advisers to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization and other Vatican offices. The list of papal appointments to the synod was published Sept. 22 by the Vatican. Experts and observers, who include laypeople, are not voting members of the synod. According to Vatican rules, only priests, bishops and cardinals can be full members who vote and determine the propositions to be presented to the pope at the end of the gathering. The 45 experts will serve as resources for the more than 200 synod members. Those from the U.S. include Sister Sara Butler, professor of theology at St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Ill.; Benedictine Father Jeremy Driscoll, professor at Rome's Pontifical Athenaeum of San Anselmo; Ralph Martin, president of Renewal Ministries; Franciscan Sister Paula Jean Miller, professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas, Houston; and Edward Peters, a professor of canon law. —CNS