For a Synodal Church

May 8, 2022 | Ministries

What is a Synod?

A synod is both an event and a process where clergy, religious and the laity gather to discuss important matters of the faith. Synods are transformative events that lead to renewal in the Church’s life. After a Synod occurs, the Church emerges different and is changed.

What is a Synod of Synodalities?

The goal of the Church is to meet people where they are in every place and in every situation, walk with them, listen to them, and then bring to them the truth and the light of the Gospel, just as Jesus did with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Pope Francis said, “The Second Vatican Council teaches that the People of God participate in the prophetic office of Christ. Therefore, we must listen to the People of God, and this means going out to the local churches.”

The Synod on Synodality is a two-year process of listening and dialogue that began in October 2021. To ensure the participation of all Church faithful, the synodal process will unfold in three phases: a diocesan phase, a continental phase, and a universal phase. During the diocesan phase that will run through September 22, 2022, the diocese will gather information from the laity in their area and compile them into a report to the national bishops’ conference. During the continental phase that will last from September, 2022 to March, 2023, continental bishops’ conferences will communicate with one another about the results of the diocesan consultations to “deepen discernment within the specific cultural context of each continent.” The continental bishops will then dispatch a report to the Vatican based largely on the input received from the laypeople during the diocesan phase. The work will continue in Rome where a final report will be sent to the Synod of Bishops in October, 2023, marking the final, universal level of the synod.

The purposes of this process is to “inspire people to dream about the church we are called to be, to make people’s hopes flourish, to stimulate trust, to bind up wounds, to weave new and deeper relationships, to learn from one another, to build bridges, to enlighten minds, warm hearts, and restore strength to our hands for our common mission.” It is through this synodal process that all Church members guided by the Holy Spirit will walk together and listen to one another to deepen the essential characteristic of the Church. Pope Francis invites the entire Church to decisively reflect on its life and mission: “It is precisely this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium.” This journey, which follows in the wake of the Church’s “renewal” proposed by the Second Vatican Council is both a gift and a task. By reflecting together on this journey, the Church will be able to learn through Her experience which processes can help Her to live communion, to achieve participation, and open Herself to mission.

This weekend, surveys will be available in the pews at Mass in case you have not received one in the mail. We invite you to fill out a survey and return it to the Rectory or drop it in the basket at Mass. On Wednesday, May 18, 2022 at 8:00pm there will be General Council Meeting in the Lower Church. All parishioners are invited to attend.

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