Pope Francis has called for a Synod, an opportunity for Catholics of all walks of life to express their deepest hopes for the Church in challenging times. Your input will become part of a larger report reflecting the thoughts of the People of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Every diocese of the world is participating!
You are encouraged to submit your responses directly to the Archdiocese. First, go to www.archchicago.org. Click on the square which reads Synod 2021-2023. It will take you to a few introductory pages, then to the place where you can write your reflection. You can then submit it electronically or type it separately and mail it to: Synod Workbook, Cardinal Meyer Center, 3525 S. Lake Park Avenue, Chicago, IL 60653-1402
The three topics are Communion, Participation and Mission. Below are some questions, but don’t feel obligated to answer each one directly. Let your ideas flow! Be free to speak with courage and boldness. A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, “journeys together.” How is this “journeying together” happening today in the Archdiocese? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “journeying together”? Use these as reference points for your reflection.
Recall our experiences: What experiences of our local Church does this question call to mind?
Re-read these experiences in greater depth: What joys did they bring? What difficulties and obstacles have they encountered? What wounds do they reveal? What insights come to mind?
Gather the fruits to share: Where in these experiences does the Holy Spirit speak? What is the Spirit asking of us? What are the points to be confirmed, the prospects for change, the steps to be taken? Where do we register a consensus? What paths are opening up for our Archdiocese?
In the Church and society, we are side by side on the same road. How are we called to grow as companions? Listening is the first step, but it requires an open mind and heart, without prejudice. All are invited to speak in freedom, truth and charity.
Who are those in the margins in our local community? How do we encounter them and listen to them? How does what we hear inform how we journey together?
The Vatican II documents call for us to provide a full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations. What has that come to mean in our post-pandemic Church? Can we maintain participation without people at Sunday worship? Aside from liturgy, how are we all called to participate in the life of the Church?
Sunday worship is the most visible aspect of our religion. The Church’s mission also includes service, evangelization, healing and teaching. Does our faith steer us when making decisions and weighing values? Does it bring consolation? Does it challenge us to sacrifice? Synodality entails receptivity to change, formation and ongoing learning. Above all the Church works for justice, peace, and respect for all human life.