In October 2021, Pope Francis announced the opening of the path entitled “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission”.
With this convocation, Pope Francis invites the entire Church to reflect on a theme that is decisive for its life and mission: This journey, which follows in the wake of the Church’s “renewal” proposed by the Second Vatican Council, is both a gift and a task: by journeying together and reflecting together on the journey that has been made, the Church will be able to learn through Her experience which processes can help Her to live communion, to achieve participation, to open Herself to mission.
What is the Purpose of the Synod?
The true purpose of the Synod is to inspire people to dream about the Church we are called to be, to make people’s hopes 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 objective then is not just a series of exercises that start and stop, but rather a journey of growing together by using the synodal process on an ongoing basis.
Although the consultation with the People of God does not imply the assumption within the Church of the dynamics of democracy based on the principle of majority (in other words, this is an ecclesial process that can only take place at the heart of a hierarchically structured community), in the end,this Synodal Process seeks to move towards a Church that is more fruitfully at the service of the coming of the kingdom of heaven.
What does this Synodal process mean for us in the Diocese of Rockford?
At the local level here in the Diocese of Rockford, the purpose of the first phase is to foster a consultation process in order to gather the wealth of the experiences that exist within the Diocese. We will do this by asking for responses to these survey questions.
Why am I being asked to participate in this Synod?
The entire People of God shares a common dignity and vocation through Baptism. All of us are called in virtue of our Baptism to be active participants in the life of the Church. In parishes, small Christian communities, lay movements, religious communities, and other forms of communion, we are all invited to listen to one another in order to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit, who comes to guide our human efforts, breathing life and vitality into the Church and leading us into deeper communion for our mission in the world.
How can I prepare to Participate in this Synod?
The basic question for the faithful in Rockford to contemplate in this: How does our “journeying together,” which takes place today on different levels (from the local level to the universal one), allow the Church to proclaim the Gospel in accordance with the mission entrusted to Her; and what steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow as a Church?
The three dimensions of this “journeying together” are Communion (God gathers us together), Participation (a call for the involvement of all who belong to the People of God), and Mission (the Church exists to evangelize and witness to the love of God), all guided by the Holy Spirit.
To assist you in your prayerful preparation, you may access the “Prayer for the Synod” on the Diocesan website here https://www.usccb.org/prayers/prayer-synod-synodality or by using the QR code below:
Click here to access the Synod survey directly.