Our Synod Sessions ended March 31st ~ our Session responses have been sent to the Diocese of Trenton and have now been compiled and sent on to Rome. Great job, well done and hats off to all Facilitators, Note Takers and participants in our Synod Sessions!!
Last year, Pope Francis called for a synod to convene at Rome in 2023. This 16th Synod of Bishops is entitled “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.” A “synod” is a periodic gathering of bishops from around the world in a collaborative effort to counsel the Holy Father on crucial matters facing the Church. This synod has been dubbed “a synod on synodality” because the Pope has a broader vision in his desire to go beyond a select group of bishops to seek the input of the entire people of God. His motivation is borne out of the Second Vatican Council, which calls the laity to greater participation and collaboration with the bishops, toward engaging in the Church’s mission of evangelization. Through this synod, we have the opportunity to express to our shepherds what the Holy Spirit communicates in our experience of the Church. Pope Francis sees this listening process as essential to understanding the Church’s pastoral mission and to ensure it corresponds as closely as possible to God’s will. This process of communion, participation, and mission is a time for prayerful listening and discernment which begins at the parish level. Because everyone’s experience of the Church is unique, the Holy Father asks us to listen to these experiences in an open, welcoming, and non-judgmental way. It is his wish the people of God come together to reflect on, and contribute to, the Church’s journey. What does it mean to journey with the Church? How does journeying with the Church take shape today?
Bishop O’Connell offers some help to understand this concept by asking us to consider the following questions:
How do we experience our journey together with the Church?
How is this journeying together happening today in our local church community?
What steps does the Holy Spirit invite us to take to grow in journeying together?
What joy do most people find in the Church?
And finally, what obstacles and difficulties have people encountered?
We are asking everyone to participate at the parish level for the contribution of their personal experiences toward this synodal process. The Church, throughout the centuries, has grown to reveal more and more of her mystery present in Christ. These contributions represent another step in that process as the Church reveals herself to be the community of God’s people, more than ever before. Please take some time to reflect on these questions. We look forward to hearing from you.