Over the next few weeks, you will be hearing more about gatherings on the “synod on synodality”. The Pastoral Council has been tasked with the job of putting together “discussion groups” to consider questions that have been given to us from the USCCB considering the Synod.
As stated in a previous bulletin, Pope Francis has asked the whole People of God to contribute to the 2023 Synod of Bishops, commonly referred to as the “Synod on Synodality.” What is “Synodality”? It describes the participation of the whole People of God in the life of the Church. In the upcoming Synod, this participation will be exercised in three stages. First, the bishops will consult the People of God about a particular question. Second, the bishops will hear the response of the faithful and discern how the Holy Spirit is speaking in it. Finally, the bishops will implement the directives of Pope Francis once he has considered the bishops’ discernment.
The question the People of God are being asked has been phrased in different ways: · “What is the Holy Spirit saying to our Church today?” · “What should we do to improve our parish?” · “A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, ‘journeys together.’ How is this ‘journeying together’ happening today in your local Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our ‘journeying together’?” The answers given in consultation will be submitted to regional bishops’ conferences, who will synthesize reports and submit their findings to continental bishops’ conferences. These continental gatherings will then submit reports to the General Synod of Bishops in Rome, where the final discernment process will take place and recommendations will be made to Pope Francis.
It is important that we hear from the People of God concerning the above questions and others that have been provided to us. You will be receiving more information in the coming weeks about different gatherings at both St. Augustine and St. Matthew for parishioners to give input on these questions. The council will also be looking at electronic ways to gather information from a variety of age groups, both those participating at Mass on a regular basis, and those who have been away from the church for a period of time.
My prayer is that we can enter into these discussions for the benefit of not only the global church, but for the benefit of our own faith community. The results of our gatherings can help us focus on our own particular vision, helping us with the mission of Christ.