Franciscan Sister Sister Leonette Kochan shares on the Synod called by Pope Francis. She is a member of the General Administration of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. Previously, an elementary school teacher and principal in Wisconsin, Ohio and Arizona, she also served as Coordinator of the Diocese of Tucson Office of Human Life and Dignity.
YOU are INVITED by POPE FRANCIS – to a SYNOD !
I am invited to a synod? What is a synod?
A synod is a meeting or assembly of church leaders gathered to reach consensus on important issues. Right now, the Catholic Church has been called by Pope Francis to prepare for a Synod on Synodality, to convene in 2023.
But, I am not a church leader. And, what does synodality mean?
If Pope Francis were here to answer these questions, he might say:
- Regarding who is to participate: “It is necessary to feel part of one great people who are the recipients of the divine promises . . .open to a future that awaits everyone to participate in the banquet prepared by God for all peoples.” (Pope Francis’ message to the people of Rome, Sept. 18, 2021)
In other words, ALL are welcome to walk together on this journey. The Pope has placed special emphasis on being inclusive, especially of people on the margins.
- Secondly, being a synodal Church is what Vatican Council ll proclaimed the design of the Church to be, a community of listening, engaged and mission oriented people.
- It is a design of church that is relational, collaborative and listening.
How do I answer the invitation to participate in this synod?
At this time, every Catholic diocese throughout the world is asked to develop a process for listening, inviting parishes to gather their people together to listen to each other and share answers to questions that synod leaders have asked to be considered.
A start to becoming involved in the process could be to find out what one’s parish and/or diocese is doing to engage everyone in conversation and seek to participate in those efforts.
In future monthly blogs, the following aspects of the synod will be addressed:
- Theme of the synod: COMMUNION, PARTICIPATION, MISSION
- Deeper understanding of synodality
- Essential questions to be discussed
- The synod’s intended impact on our world today
May the Spirit guide us as we accept the invitation to come on board to help our Church evolve into its fullest potential.