We’ve made some significant preparatory steps on this synodal (journeying together) journey which we’d like to share with you, and lay out what comes next. We’d also like to point you to the parish website that has a creative video about the Synod.
To recap – this is an extraordinary moment. For the first time in the history of the Catholic church, ALL members throughout the world—1.34 billion people—are invited to share our dreams for the future of our church. The Synod on Synodality is a two-year process of listening, dialogue, prayer and discernment which began with a solemn opening in Rome on October 9 and 10, 2021 and will culminate in October 2023 in Rome. The Vatican Commission has published a two-part guide for the process that we are following: Synodal Preparatory Document and Handbook (Vademecum).
The documents set out one Fundamental Question that guides this consultation: ”A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, ‘journeys together:’ How is this ‘journeying together’ happening today in your particular Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our ‘journeying together’”? (Remember Church equals diocese.)
The documents then list 10 themes with questions under each theme. The themes might best be understood as aspects or angles from which to address the Fundamental Question. These themes/questions, designed to be addressed in small groups, are wide ranging, open ended and respectful of the intelligence and wisdom of the laity. Please take some time to review the 10 themes/questions before you participate in a small group.
By February 20, we will have trained over 25 parishioners to facilitate these small groups. We are now working out the logistics of conducting these small groups for the entire parish. We will begin the small group sessions next week by inviting those who completed the online survey. We’ll then publish days and times for additional small group sessions on the parish website where you can sign up. For those who can’t easily access the website we’ll have sign-ups at Church.
Most of us occasionally ask ourselves how important our faith/church is in our lives. We hope this is one of those moments. Will you care enough about the future of our Church to accept Pope Francis’ invitation? We are asking you to commit a total of 4 to 6 hours in two or three listening sessions between now and mid-April. Yes, we all have busy lives. But we aren’t asking for martyrdom! We are asking you to be part of something bigger than yourself, and to make some small sacrifices to do so. Are you up for the challenge – and perhaps the chance to meet other parishioners and make new friends?
Lent is coming. What better way to prepare the way of the Lord than to reflect on and respond to these questions, to prayerfully discern where the Spirit is leading us, and to help shape the future direction of our parish and our global Church. Let’s “journey together” as a parish toward greater Communion. Participation and Mission.