November 4, 2021
Who is called to participate in this synod? All the People of God! This is a process that is meant to engage all the baptized in deep, faith-filled listening. Indeed, by extending this invitation the Pope has made it clear that the baptized are both the main participants and the central focus of this synod. And by all, they mean all! The documents of the synod take special care to extend this invitation to at-risk persons: “women, the handicapped, refugees, migrants, the elderly people who live in poverty, Catholics who rarely or never practice their faith, etc.” And organizers of discernment events are required to find the best means possible to involve children and youth in this endeavour!
Remember Jesus reached out to all in his ministry, we must do likewise. Vatican II puts it this way: “all human beings are called to the new people of God.” (LG 13) God is at work in our midst through the Spirit especially when the faithful gather, dialogue and listen to one another, in a process of discernment “reading the signs of the times in faithfulness to the teachings of the Church.”
Together, gathered in this way, the baptized are the living voice of the People of God, what is called the sensus fidelium. As the organizers of the synod tell us, to truly be such a living voice we must listen to the voices from the margins, the voices that reflect both the joys and the sorrows. Hence, we are called in this process to exclude no one from sharing their perspective and experiences, “insofar as they want to help the Church on her synodal journey of seeking what is good and true. This is especially true of those who are most vulnerable or marginalized.“ By entering into this process we open ourselves to change, as the community of St. Agnes. We will learn more about ourselves as Church, deepen our relationships with God and one another. In other words, this process is as much about the horizontal (reaching out to one another) as it is vertical (preparing a report to the Bishop). By opening ourselves to this process, engaging in truly deep listening and authentic dialogue we can, in a grace-filled way live more fully the mission of God.