Pope Francis wants to hear from the whole Church about what is happening in local parishes. He and the bishops would like to know what individuals think we should all be doing to help make our parishes better. The way he has proposed doing this is a synodal process. Synod means “journeying together” and it involves listening to the Holy Spirit and to each other in order to discern the path we are called to walk together.

The synod “is intended to inspire people to dream about the Church we are called to be, to make people’s hopes flourish, to stimulate trust, to bind up wounds, to weave new and deeper relationships, to learn from one another, to build bridges, to enlighten minds, warm hearts, and restore strength to our hands for our common mission.”

The practice of living as a synodal Church means:

  • The conversations lead to conversion to Christ and commitment to active participation in the mission given by Christ — Communion
  • The people of God talk with one another and listen to one another about questions that matter — Participation
  • The communion exists for a common purpose; mission flows naturally from the experience of communion — Mission

Synod Recap Session

Thank you to all 50+ of you who attended our Synod “recap session” on May 5. During the session we focused on:

-thank you to all involved in this process

-review of the process that Sue and Tricia followed in creating this beautiful and honest report

– an overview of the Archdiocese 3-day Synod retreat

– small group discussions on two questions:

What, in the report resonated with you, that you said “amen” to?

What does the Holy Spirit call us to do individually, to support this synodal path?

-small group discussion was then shared to the whole group

-additional comments suggestions recorded

Here are some of the main themes that were mentioned more frequently in the small group discussions.

Question 1: What did you say “amen” to in the report?

  1. Beauty of honesty of this well written report. Voices were represented.
  2. Holy Spirit continues to call us to community as a foundation of our faith
  3. We need to be a welcoming community to all
  4. Change in our Church is needed
  5. Eucharist should not be denied or used as a weapon
  6. Our youth and children need to be welcomed and encouraged to participate
  7. The status of women in the church should be honored
  8. LGBQT should be welcomed

Question 2: What can you do individually to be church?

  1. Speak up and stand up for your beliefs
  2. Be a welcoming church to all, not judgmental, welcome those who are new and may praise differently, welcome Fr Daniel
  3. Continue to be involved in service through ministries at MPB, carry on the Vincentian charism
  4. Welcome and be inclusive of our youth
  5. Support Eucharist for all

Next Steps: That question keeps coming up and it’s an excellent question. Continue to listen, pray and discern. Stay tuned!

What is the MPB Synod Process?

The term Synod comes from the Greek syn-odos, “walking together”. It is not so much to forge agreement or air complaints, as to recognize, honor and reconcile ideas and differences on a higher place where the best of each can be retained.

Our Father, Pope Francis, has invited the Catholic Church to embark on a journey together. Through listening and discernment rooted in the Holy Spirit, the entire people of God will be called to contribute to a process by which the Church deepens in understanding of Her mission and look toward the future. All are encouraged to participate.

 

🕊Where and When Does This Happen?

We are scheduling 5 discernment or listening sessions. We will be meeting in person at the church and parish hall. Virtual session(s) will be via ZOOM. The dates and times are as follow:

  • Tuesday, January 25th from 6:30 – 8:30pm (in person)
  • Thursday, January 27th from 9:00-11:00am (in person)
  • Sunday, January 30th from 6:00 – 8:00pm (in person)
  • Wednesday, February2nd from 9:00-11:00am (in person)
  • Monday, Feb 7th from 6:30 -8:30 pm (virtual)

Additional sessions will be scheduled if needed. We are limiting each session to 60 participants.All sessions are subject to change to virtual depending on COVID protocols. Masks will be required.

🕊What Will the Sessions Look Like?

We will start the session in large group in the church, move to small table discussions in the Parish Hall, then close back in large group.

 

🕊How Will We Start in Large Group?

We will start off in the church. As you walk in you will be randomly assigned to a table group.

This large group time will be an opportunity for spiritual formation, reflection, and listening to the Holy Spirit.

-Welcome and Introduction

-Scripture and reflection

– Discernment/meditation

-Sending forth to  assigned small groups

 

🕊What Happens in Small Groups?

Each small group will consist of 6 participants, a facilitator and note taker

Introductions will be shared along with the prompt of “what brought you to this session?”

Two questions will be the focus of sharing and discernment:

🕊What Are the Two Focus Questions:

How have you seen the Holy Spirit at work in the church? 

What is the Holy Spirit calling the church to in this time and place? 

These questions can be addressed at the parish/MPB level, the archdiocese level, country and/or world.

 

🕊What is the Structure of the Small Groups?

-3 people will each be given 3 minutes to share their response

-There will be a two-minute time in silence to reflect

-The next 3 people will each have 3 minutes to share their response

-Another two-minute reflection time will follow

-The note taker will share their notes as to what they heard for 3 min

-Participants can then further reflect, clarify or add to the discussion for a 5 minute period

The same protocol will then be followed for the 2nd question, each question taking approx. 25 mins.

The group will come up with 3 main takeaways from each question to share with the entire large group through the guidance of the facilitator and note taker.

🕊What Will Happen in Large Groups?

All will join back in large groups where the notetaker or facilitator from each group will share their short key points from the two questions.

 

🕊What’s Next?

The two MPB representatives will take all the notes from the sessions and compile them in a document. This will be shared with the MPB community, Father Daniel and Father John, the pastoral council, staff and the archdiocese. The archdiocese will then compile a 10-page document that it will forward to the next level, eventually reaching the Vatican.

 

🕊Then What?

This is open-ended. This journey, guided by the Holy Spirit, will take us where it takes us.  Ideas and movements at the parish level will be explored. It is difficult to say where this will lead us. We all need to be open to the Holy Spirit. This process is the start of our journeying together. Pray for the spirit to lead us to where God is calling us.

 

🕊How Do I Sign Up?

A signup link will be shared through the bulletin and parish website. You may sign up for multiple sessions if you wish. We ask that if your plans change and you need to cancel, please notify Suzi in the office.

 

🕊How Do I Prepare?

Pray to the Holy Spirit to discern and listen. Spend some time reflecting on the two questions and perhaps jot down a few notes. Remember, you will have 3-minutes to share your reflection so come well prepared to share how the Holy Spirit has enlightened you.

 

🕊How Can I Help?

We will need volunteers to help at each session. Contact Ann Zimmer if you’re interested in helping.

 

🕊How Can I Learn More About the Synod and This Process at MPB?

Presently we are adding a page to the MPB website. The better-informed everyone, the richer the experience for all. We expect to be adding to the webpage as we go along and questions arise. Check back often.

Expectations and Agreements for Synodal Conversations

  1. This consultation is a safe place to talk — we will treat each other and what anyone says with reverence and respect.
  2. One person speaks at a time.
  3. We all will listen with an open mind.
  4. We will be stopping the conversation at certain intervals to reflect and pray.
  5. Our primary mode is dialogue: When we speak our purpose is to advance the conversation. Please avoid arguing or comments that seek to advance a personal agenda.
  6. We limit how long we speak so that everyone has time to share.
  7. We only speak once until everyone has had an opportunity to share.
  8. We will be reporting the themes and experiences to the (arch)diocese and bishop’s conference as they emerge from the consultation discussions without indicating the names of individual participants.
  9. As participants, when we tell others of our experience of the consultation, we will not attribute anything we share to particular people or groups.

FAQs

Thank you for all your questions… we will post the questions and to the best to our ability, answer here. Check back often!

1. I signed up for the virtual session on Monday, Feb 7. How do I get the link? The ZOOM link will be sent out to all registered participants 24 hours in advance. If you are a couple, it is best to have two devices to provide a richer experience for each participant. You can also participate on 1 device, if 2 devices are not available.

2. Do I sign up for one session or all the sessions? You only need to sign up for one session unless you want to attend more.

3.  Is the content different in each session?  All sessions will basically follow the same format, responding to the same two questions. They will look different in that participants “sharings” will be different.

4. Can I just show up, or do I need to register? Please, it is important that you register so that we can plan for numbers in small groups and have facilitators and note takers in place. It’s also important to register ASAP so that we can plan accordingly.

5. What if my plans change and I can’t attend a session that I registered for?  It is important to get as accurate a count as possible. If your plans change, please contact Suzi Savich in the office ssavich@mpbdenver.org or 303.756.3083 to change your registration.

6. Will my name be attached to my comments? In the “agreements” we have stated that “we will not attribute anything we share to a particular people or groups.” We trust that all will respect that agreement.

7. Will this process make any difference? Just listening to the Holy Spirit when considering the two questions should make a difference personally. Listening to each other and sharing will make a difference to the group. Our experience of just being heard and respected by others in community makes a difference in building and sustaining community. After this initial process is completed we will receive a summary of themes and from there decide what further actions could be considered. Here’s where our prayers to the Holy Spirit come in, asking for guidance.

Ten Thematic Nuclei to be Explored

In order to help highlight the experiences and contribute in a richer way to the conversations, the Vatican indicates ten thematic nuclei that articulate different facets of “lived synodality.”

Please Note: We will not be addressing these facets in these initial listening sessions. They are presented for you to consider and may be fruitful in future conversations as we journey together as Church.

I. The Journeying Companions

In the Church and in society, we are side by side on the same road.

In your local Church, who are the ones “journeying together”? When we say: “our Church,” who is part of it? Who is asking us to journey together? Who are the road companions, including those outside the ecclesial perimeter? What persons or groups are left on the margins, expressly or in fact?

II. Listening

Listening is the first step, but it requires having an open mind and heart, without prejudices. To whom does our particular Church “need to listen to”? How are the Laity, especially young people and women, listened to? How do we integrate the contribution of Consecrated Men and Women? What space is there for the voice of minorities, the discarded, and the excluded? Do we identify prejudices and stereotypes that hinder our listening? How do we listen to the social and cultural context in which we live?

III. Speaking Out

All are invited to speak with courage and parrhesia, that is, integrating freedom, truth, and charity. How do we promote a free and authentic style of communication within the community and its organizations, without duplicity and opportunism? And in relation to the society of which we are a part? When and how do we manage to say what is important to us? How does the relationship with the media system (not only Catholic media) work? Who speaks on behalf of the Christian community, and how are they chosen?

IV. Celebrating

“Journeying together” is only possible if it is based on communal listening to the Word and the celebration of the Eucharist. How do prayer and liturgical celebration inspire and direct our “journeying together”? How do they inspire the most important decisions? How do we promote the active participation of all the Faithful in the liturgy and the exercise of the sanctifying function? What space is given to the exercise of the ministries of the reader and acolyte?

V. Co-Responsible in the Mission

Synodality is at the service of the Church’s mission, in which all her members are called to participate. Since we are all missionary disciples, how is each Baptized person called to be a protagonist in the mission? How does the community support its members committed to service in society (social and political commitment, in scientific research and teaching, in the promotion of social justice, in the protection of human rights, and in caring for the Common home, etc.)? How do you help them to live out these commitments in a logic of mission? How is discernment about mission-related choices made, and who participates in it? How are the different traditions that constitute the patrimony of many Churches, especially the Oriental ones, integrated and adapted, with respect to the synodal style, in view of an effective Christian witness? How does collaboration work in territories where different sui iuris Churches are present?

VI. Dialogue in Church and Society

Dialogue is a path of perseverance that also includes silences and sufferings, but which is capable of gathering the experience of persons and peoples. What are the places and modes of dialogue within our particular Church? How are divergences of vision, the conflicts, the difficulties addressed? How do we promote collaboration with neighboring Dioceses, with and among religious communities in the area, with and among lay associations and movements, etc.? What experiences of dialogue and shared commitment do we have with believers of other religions and with non-believers? How does the Church dialogue with and learn from other sectors of society: the world of politics, economics, culture, civil society, the poor…?

VII. With the Other Christian Denominations

The dialogue between Christians of different confessions, united by one Baptism, has a special place in the synodal journey. What relations do we have with the brothers and sisters of other Christian denominations? What areas do they concern? What fruits have we drawn from this “journeying together”? What are the difficulties?

VIII. Authority and Participation

A synodal Church is a participatory and co-responsible Church.How do we identify the goals to be pursued, the way to achieve them, and the steps to be taken? How is authority exercised within our particular Church? What are the practices of teamwork and co-responsibility?

How are lay ministries and the assumption of responsibility by the Faithful promoted? How do synodal bodies function at the level of the particular Church? Are they a fruitful experience?

IX. Discerning and Deciding

In a synodal style, decisions are made through discernment, based on a consensus that flows from the common obedience to the Spirit. By what procedures and methods do we discern together and make decisions? How can they be improved? How do we promote participation in decision-making within hierarchically structured communities? How do we articulate the consultative phase with the deliberative one, the process of decision-making with the moment of decision-taking? How and with what tools do we promote transparency and accountability?

X. Forming Ourselves in Synodality

The spirituality of journeying together is called to become an educational principle for the formation of the human person and of the Christian, of the families, and of the communities. How do we form people, especially those who hold roles of responsibility within the Christian community, to make them more capable of “journeying together,” listening to one another and engaging in dialogue? What formation do we offer for discernment and the exercise of authority? What tools help us to read the dynamics of the culture in which we are immersed and their impact on our style of Church?

Learn More

We will be adding resources for you to learn about this synod process.
The more we can be informed the richer the synodal process will be.

 

Vatican Website on the Synod

Let Us Dream; The Path to a Better Future by Pope Francis
Our Lenten book club from last spring often referred to the synod process.

Pope Francis’ opening homily on synodality

Webinar: For a synodal Church: What is Pope Francis inviting us all to do?
How can we participate, animate, and serve the listening and discernment process? A panel of theologians speak from their experience and expertise.

The panel includes two members appointed to the Synod Commission on Theology (Prof. Rafael Luciani and Prof. Kristin Colberg) and Prof Hosffman Ospino who has been integral to the V Encuentro and encouraging synodal, listening, participatory processes in the US Church. Listen:

Listen to the entire webinar or tune in at 4:25 where Kristen Colberg lays out the background and purpose for the synod.

Kristen Colberg is a faculty member at Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary and has been appointed to the theological commission charged with assisting the leaders of the Synod of Bishops’ general secretariat. Kristen was one of four theologians named from the United States and Canada to serve on this Vatican commission. She is highly regarded for her expertise in the areas of ecclesiology and ecumenism.

Discernment from the MPB Mens’ Group

The mens’ group at MPB used this document to help in them in their discernment process. Thank you Tim Buckley!

 

 

Archdiocese of Denver Discernment Video Series

Questions?

Send me a message!

Katharine Montemurri

Receptionist

EMAIL