Week of October 24, 2021

Week of October 24, 2021


Dear Parishioners,

Last week marked the beginning of a Synod called for by Pope Francis. He asked that dioceses around the world would have an opening Mass for this Synod and so there was one at our Cathedral that Sunday afternoon. A synod is normally a local gathering of bishops to discuss important matters in the Church. The synod that the Holy Father is calling for is different, because he wants many lay people to be involved in order to hear the voices of people who often do not get heard. That is why this synod has been called the “Synod on Synodality.” He is specifically looking for ways to renew the life and mission of the Church by walking with others.

The topic of discussion will be how the Church can be more synodal in its processes. The Pope would like the Church to have more consultation from people from all walks of life before making decisions. This is a very careful balance though since our Church is very hierarchical in its constitution. Ultimately a synod does not have power in itself but only if approved by the Holy Father and bishops are still in charge of their own dioceses. Neither of these facts can be changed by a synod because the power of hierarchy does not come from the people, it comes from Jesus Christ Himself who called His apostles to be our first bishops and to pass down that authority through apostolic succession. However, just because a bishop has authority does not mean that he is a dictator or that people have no say. It is best to bring people along with any decision that is made and to have open dialog with the faithful. Pope Francis has said that he wants a Church that listens. So, this synod will be working out the details on how exactly to do that.

The plan for the synod has three phases. In the diocesan phase, bishops will initiate discussion with the faithful in their dioceses and to integrate the synodal process into the life of the parishes with pastoral councils. After the bishops gather the feed-back they will then have conferences to discuss it in the continental phase. And then finally at the end of a two-year process the bishops will gather as a universal Church to discuss and implement what they have learned.

The goal of all of this is to bring about a renewal of the Church through discernment and listening to one another for the voice of the Holy Spirit. I pray that this all goes well and you should too.

God bless!

Fr. Carter