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Weekly Message – the Synod on Synodality

Dear friends in Christ,

On Sunday, March 27th, after the 10:15am Mass, our parish will host a local consultation for the upcoming Synod of Bishops. All are welcome to participate in this session to be led by Sr. Clare Teresa, RA. We will have refreshments immediately after Mass, and then the formal meeting will begin at noon.

You might be wondering: What is a Synod of Bishops? A Synod of Bishops is a consultative group of various bishops chosen from around the world who spend several weeks with the Holy Father discerning together how the Church should respond to certain realities in the life of the Church. Sometimes Synods are topical in nature, while at other times they are regionally focused. The upcoming Synod is a Synod on Synodality. While that may sound a bit esoteric (so much so that MS Word doesn’t think “synodality” is a word!), there is an easy way to think about it: Pope Francis wants the shepherds of the Church – especially bishops and parish priests – to listen to their people more!

At the same time, a Synod is a consultative body. It is not an Ecumenical Council – we’ve only had twenty of those in the history of the Church, when the whole college of bishops united with the successor of Saint Peter speaks with one voice on significant questions in the life of the Church. The purpose is not – like at, say, the Council of Trent or Vatican II – to lay down teachings to be definitely held by the faithful. Even less is the goal to change the definitive teaching of the magisterium on faith and morals. Rather, the goal is to listen to each other at every level of the Church; to really hear what is in people’s hearts – especially those on the margins or those who have been wounded by the Church. I have no doubt that I can be better listener in this way. That is why at our local consultation, I will not be leading the session, but listening. Please join us if you are able.

May God be Blessed!

-Father Eric Banecker