The Power of a Community – Synodal Path
Letter from Fr. Peter, Pastor
Over the last few months folks have asked me about something that the Vatican calls the Synodal Path. This is a preparation and consultation process leading to the 2023 Synod of Bishops entitled: “For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission”.
What’s a synod and what does it do?
The Canon Law (Church law) says that a synod is "a group of bishops who have been chosen from different regions of the world and meet together at fixed times to foster closer unity between the Roman Pontiff and bishops, to assist the Roman Pontiff with their counsel in the preservation and growth of faith and morals and in the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline, and to consider questions pertaining to the activity of the Church in the world."
Why is it important?
We are a global communion, Catholic means universal, hence it is important for different bishops and other invited participants to join together in prayer, in discussion and in offering important insights regarding who we are as people of God. This expression of the universality of our Church is essential in ensuring that we are not only always attentive to the Holy Spirit speaking to all people of God, but also that we act on the Spirit’s guidance in making important decisions in the life of our Church.
How are we going to participate?
The Synodal Pathway will begin in October and include all local churches (dioceses) around the world as many Catholic communities will have opportunities to pray and discuss how the Holy Spirit leads us toward ongoing renewal and witness of faith. Here at Saint Clement, we unofficially began this process of synodal/pastoral consultation when I started over a year ago. Since then, we have engaged over 1,000 people in surveys, small groups meetings, and summer chats, as well as in our pastoral plan called “the Clement Way”. This enables you, the people of this community, to be with one another, to pray and to discuss how God works in our lives and in our local Church. An important part of this unofficial synodal pathway is the summer social events and TOT sessions, as they create wonderful opportunities for us first to be the church by our experience of the community, and then to talk, discuss and pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead us to fruitfulness. Here at Saint Clement, we have a rich history of synodality as our pastoral councils and boards provide critical insight and input into our way of planning and ministering in Christ’s name. I consider myself truly blessed knowing how many active members come together to direct our community and ensure our strength and creativity. As we continue the summer celebrations, I invite you to consider joining us for Wine Down Wednesdays and other social opportunities as they enable us to listen to each other, learn about how God works in our lives and motivate us to be an active and welcoming community for all who seek Christ. At the same time, I thank all groups and ministries who have generously co-hosted our social events and provided us with wonderful opportunities for celebration, prayer and learning. Church at her best is the Church centered in Christ, united in prayer and the mission of bringing others to Christ and in serving those in need. I hope over the fall months you experience this community to be a church on fire with prayer, community and service.
-Fr. Peter Wojcik, Pastor