Pope Francis describes Synodality as “the path
by which the Church can be renewed by the action of the Holy Spirit, listening
together to what God has to say to his people” (Vademecum, pg. 8). It is the hope
of Holy Father that this Synod is understood as both a gift and a task.
The Second Vatican Council reinvigorated the sense that all baptized, both the hierarchy and the laity, are called to be active participants in the saving mission of the Church. The faithful have received the Holy Spirit in baptism and confirmation and are endowed with the diverse gits for the renewal and building up of the Church, as members of the body of Christ.
The purpose of this Synod is not to produce more documents rather it is intended to inspire people to dream about the Church we are called to be, to make people’s hope flourish, to stimulate trust, to bind up wounds, to weave new and deeper relationships, to learn from one another, to build bridges, to enlighten minds, warm hearts and restore strength to our hands for our common mission.
The listening phrase for this Archdiocese has drawn to a close with this spirit of synodality remaining strong. This phase has given all the People of God a time to listen, discern and pray and to focus on how-to live-in communion, achieve participation and to remain open in mission. The work now begins at each of the Diocesan levels to process all the feedback in writing the synthesis report. Pope Francis reminds each of us that this report is just the beginning of listen and speaking to one another as people of faith.
As well beginning May 18, 2022, the CCCB Office for the Evangelization and the Catechesis is presenting a three-part webinar series “For Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.” These sessions will be hosted by several guest speakers and will explore the call to be a synodal Church -walking and working together. It is through this encounter with the Holy Spirit that the People of God are invited to participate. Please click onto caedm.ca/synod for more information and to access the online registration form before May 16, 2022.
Pope Francis points out that the Gospels frequently show Jesus as one who “walks alongside people and listens to the questions and concerns lurking in their hearts” and “meets us where we are, on the often-rocky roads of life.” He challenges everyone to be “prepared for the adventure of this journey” instead of being “fearful of the unknown, preferring to take refuge in the usual excuses: we’ve always done it this way.” This Synodal process can only be one of communion, participation, and mission if it is centred on God. Let each of us embark on this journey as “pilgrims in love with the Gospel and open to the surprises and encounter of the Holy Spirit.”
Link to the Archdiocese website to access the online registration form for the upcoming webinar presented by the CCCB. https://caedm.ca/synod
A Synod is a gathering, traditionally of bishops, who helps the Church to walk forward in the same direction. The word “synod” comes from a Greek word meaning “the same way” or “the same path.” Synods were common in the first centuries of Christianity, giving bishops the opportunities to meet and discuss issues of importance for the life of the Church. In 1965, Pope Paul VI instituted the Synod of Bishops at the universal level of the Church. He wanted a way of continuing the fraternal, collegial exchange that had been experienced at the Second Vatican Council, where bishops from across the globe had gathered between 1962 and 1965. Since then, synods have been organized every two or three years, bringing together bishops, experts, and various delegates to discuss topics like the Eucharist, the Word of God, the Middle East, the family, and youth. In each case, the bishops vote on a final document, then the pope writes the “apostolic exhortation” – to open new pathways and sheds light on what was discussed at the synod, so that it can be shared with the entire Church.
Unlike past Synods, this one is not about addressing a particular issue but about becoming who God calls us to be as a Church. This two-year Synodal process is for the entire People of God. This Synod focuses on giving the entire Church a living experience to walk together and to have our voices heard. The Church is saying: the voice of EVERYONE matters because God can talk through ANYONE – not only bishops, priests, deacons, brothers, or sisters but ALL OF US! It is not about filling out a questionnaire. The aim of the Synod is to put Synodality into practice by coming together at all local parishes to pray and reflect upon the Holy Spirit’s will for the Church.