The Universal Church inaugurated Synodal 2023 – journey together – at every diocese level throughout the world with the theme: “For a Synodal Church – in Communion, Participation and Mission.” We are now in the first Diocesan / National Phase (October 2021 – April 2022) and this will be followed by the Continental Phase (September 2022 – March 2023) and the Universal Phase – Synod of Bishops in the Vatican City (October 2023).
Our Parish Synod Team (PST) consists of 9 members. They attended a briefing session with the Archdiocese Synod Team a week ago, and this week they presented the synodal process to our BEC leaders and other parish ministries. Our Parish of St Joseph is already onboard, and getting into momentum of the Synodal Church 2023 orientation. We are now in the phase of briefing the respective groups and will soon start distributing questionnaires in November 2021. Certainly, we will familiarise ourselves with certain terminology of the Synodal process and the 10 fundamental questions for our reflections and discussions. We invite every individual – BEC members, ministries and all parishioners – to participate fully in this discussion.
At this initial phase we would like everyone to listen and discern their Synodal journey till early December 2021. There are a few steps that parishioners should take into consideration before putting their thoughts, insights and reflections to paper. First and foremost, we invoke the Holy Spirit to come upon us so that we may tune ourselves to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Hence, we need to vigorously pray as we “walk together” during this period of listening and discerning, mainly on these 10 important fundamental questions of Synodality. Our PST hopes that all parishioners would take part, and answer the questionnaires according to the given guidelines.
As we “walk together” at this first phase at our Parish level, we are invited to pray, listen, analyse, dialogue, discuss, discern, articulate and respond to the fundamental questions which are profoundly interrelated with the theme – “communion, participation and mission”.
Here are the 10 fundamental questions for us to recall our experiences (Communion), re-read the experiences (Participation) and gather the fruits to share (Mission).
- Companions on the Journey
- Speaking Out
- Sharing Responsibly for Common Mission
- Authority and Participation
- Discerning and Deciding
- Forming Ourselves in Synodality
- Dialoguing in Church and Society
The PST is also ready to brief various groups or ministries and facilitate workshops from time to time with regards to the synodal process. We want everyone to feel at home, responsibly participate and engage themselves in dialogues, discussions and interactions within the community. After much listening and discerning, all the collated answers and findings will be compiled and submitted to the Archdiocese Synod Team.
As we responsibly undertake this task, let us be reminded that by listening and discerning as a community, we are building up our faith in the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.” The Holy Father stressed that the synodal process be “a process of becoming, a process that involves the local Churches, in different phases and from the bottom up, in an exciting and engaging effort that can forge a style of communion and participation directed to mission.”
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy