Local contribution sought for the Synod of Bishops

Friday 08 October 2021

By Linda Petersen

Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY – Catholics in Utah will soon have the opportunity to participate in a global effort to understand where the Universal Church is today and chart a course for its future.

In October 2023, the World Synod of Bishops will meet in council at the XVI Ordinary General Assembly. With the contributions and comments collected from the whole Church, from the clergy to the Catholics of the pews to those of the peripheries, the bishops will develop a plan for the Church to progress by walking together and with other Christians. The recent Synods for the Pan-Amazon region (2019) and the Synods for the Ordinary General Assembly (2013, 2014, 2015, 2018) have addressed a wide range of topics. The Synod of Bishops, however, is quite different because it will involve people from all over the world to participate and make their voices heard.

“The ability to imagine a different future for the Church and its institutions, in accordance with the mission it has received, depends largely on the decision to initiate processes of listening, dialogue and community discernment,” in which everyone can participate and contribute ”, specifies the Preparatory Document for the Synod, which was sent to all the dioceses.

Starting this month, the Church is launching an effort in its parishes, ministries, schools, community and social institutions, and outreach efforts to hear how God’s people perceive where the Church is today and where it should be heading in the future. The theme of this process is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”.

“In a synod style, we make decisions by discerning what the Holy Spirit is saying throughout our community,” said Father John Evans, pastor of St. Thomas More parish in Cottonwood Heights, who coordinates these efforts. for the Diocese of Salt Lake. City.

Pope Francis will officially launch the Synod of Bishops process with a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on October 10. It will be preceded by a day of reflection within the synod. On October 17, Bishop Oscar A. Solis will open the synodal process in the Diocese of Salt Lake City with a Mass at 6 p.m. in the Cathedral of the Magdalen. He invites members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council and other representatives of each ministry and diocesan organization, especially young people, lay ecclesial ministers, multicultural groups and deans to join him that evening.

Then, over the next four months, these comments will be collected during listening sessions in various communities. In the Diocese of Salt Lake City, a team to be led by Fr. Evans is being formed to develop listening sessions and other resources to ensure that outreach involves not only those who actively serve in the Church, but also those in the peripheries, including the homeless and the disenfranchised.

The main issue to be addressed in this process has been described in the preparatory document:

“A synodal Church, by proclaiming the Gospel,“ walks together ”: How is this“ journey together ”happening today in your particular Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “journey together”?

Church leaders hope to “bring together the richness of experiences of lived synodality, in its different articulations and facets, involving pastors and faithful of particular Churches at all different levels,” says the Preparatory Document.

Baptized persons in particular are invited to participate in this process, Fr. says Evans. “Secondary are others who seek to help us in this endeavor; for example, those who have abandoned the faith, [those of] other religious traditions and people without religious beliefs.

Once the dioceses in the United States compile this information, it will be submitted to the United States Council of Catholic Bishops to be attached to commentaries from Church Assemblies around the world and distilled into a final document for use. by the Synod of Bishops to guide the Church. Church leaders stress that the result of this extraordinary gathering of perspectives will be more than words written on paper, but will serve as a guide to help lead the faithful with confidence on the path God has marked for them and for the Church. Church.

As with other synods, “the goal … is not to produce documents, but to” sow dreams, give birth to prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire confidence, heal wounds, build relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from each other and create a luminous ingenuity that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands, ”Pope Francis said in his speech from 2018 to the opening of the Synod of Bishops on Youth.


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