Spiritual Advisor (Each month, a Spiritual Advisor will write an article)
My beloved sisters and brothers in the Cursillo family,
Synod and Synodality are in the air at this time, and I have an opportunity to continue my topic from January’s School of Leaders on the topic, it is the subject of this article.
If you have had an opportunity to be at one of the sessions in the Diocese already or if you have viewed the Diocesan Website (www.reconnecttoledo.org/synodality) then you have a heads up on what “synodality” is all about. Pat Oedy Murray is our diocesan leader and Bishop Thomas also gives information of the videos that are included in this website.
“Synodality” is in the Catholic Church a term ‘often used to describe the process of fraternal collaboration and discernment that groups, like the Synod of Bishops, were created to express.’ The word “synod” is a Greek word -syn =with; hodos =way; in other words - to come together, to walk together. Pope Paul VI began the Synod of Bishops in 1965 following the Second Vatican Council in order to implement the directives of the Council. (The Second Vatican Council could also be called a “synod”.
Pope Francis formally opened the two-year process called “a synod on Synodality,” officially known as the “Synod 2021-2023: For a Synodal Church. This process expands the Synod of Bishops to include consultation with the whole Church, worldwide. This announcement came in October of last year.
Our Bishop Thomas shared the Diocesan Preparatory Phase in his Leading the Flock article last October. In this article he explained the three objectives: COMMUNION; PARTICIPATION and MISSION.
As Pat Oedy Murray and Bishop Thomas indicate in the video, this is not a democratic process “town meeting” in which we voice our opinion about the Church and how it should be run. Rather, it is time to listen to the Holy Spirit so that we as Catholics can deepen our Communion with Christ in the Holy Spirit; deepen our participation with Christ in the Holy Spirit and deepen our mission with Christ in the Holy Spirit.
There are TEN quotes from the original ten nuclei from the Pope’s Document. The accompanying question in bold are the focus of our response. (These have been used in the meetings that have been scheduled throughout the diocese.)
1. “The journeying Companions” How do we journey with and invite all people into the Body of Christ in our local Church?
2. “Listening” How do we listen to the voice of Christ in each person in our midst?
3. “Speaking Out” How do we speak with freedom and charity to communicate the truth of Christ in and to our community?
4. “Celebrating” How is our journey together based on and nourished by the celebration of the Holy Eucharist?
5. “Co-Responsible in the Mission” How is each baptized person called, formed and empowered to be missionary disciples?
6. “Dialogue in the Church and in Society” In dialogue and collaboration, how do we encourage the gifts and charisms of each person in the local Church and society, knowing that we are all members of the Body of Christ?
7. “With the other Christian denominations” How do we live out our relationship with Christ, and share in His mission with our brothers and sisters of other Christian denominations?
8. “Authority and Participation” How is Church authority exercised in our particular Church, such that it promotes the responsibility and collaboration of the laity?
9. “Discerning and Deciding” How do hierarchically structured communities promote discernment and participation, with transparency and accountability, in communal decision making in obedience to the Spirit?
10. “Forming Ourselves in Synodality” How do we cooperate with the grace of the Holy spirit to be formed into disciples more capable of journeying together, listening to one another and engaging in dialogue?
These are not easy questions, but they do offer a lot to think about and pray about. Perhaps they can be offered in our group reunions and ultreyas to reflect on, chew on and pray over.
God bless you on your journey together into 2022.
Fr Jim Brown