Thank you to the many hundreds of people who engaged in the work of the Synod by sharing their faith, hopes, and dreams for the Church!
We began our synodal journey in the fall of 2021, with the announcement that Pope Francis had called for a synod in the Church, with the theme: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.” During the fall and winter, we shared information on the upcoming “Synod on Synodality” as well as background on the history of synods and the concept of “synodality” in the Church.
In January of 2022, a “Committee for Synodality” was formed, including more than 20 parishioners from both parishes as well as Collaborative Staff, to take on the work of organizing the synodal journey for the Collaborative. In February, we held a “Synod Launch” weekend, during which our celebrants focused their homilies on the meaning and history of ‘synodality’ and what it means for us and for our Church, and our bulletin was dedicated to explaining how the ‘Synod on Synodality’ would be unfolding at our Collaborative. We also launched a robust online presence via our website and social media platforms to share information about the Synod here at the Collaborative, within the Archdiocese of Boston, and around the world.
Our 2022 Lenten Program was designed to help prepare us for our journey and lead us into the “Intentional Listening Phase” during the Easter Season. A centerpiece of this program was our Community Read and Lecture Series on Pope Francis’ book, Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, which contained many revelations for those wishing to understand Pope Francis’ emphasis on synodality.
The listening phase of our journey began in April on Easter Sunday, with the release of the first of six separate “Question of the Week” cards. These questions could be answered by filling out the paper cards and dropping them in the boxes at the churches or via our online portal. The listening phase also included a number of Intentional Listening Sessions (both in-person and via Zoom), as well as an online version of our Intentional Listening Session to allow participants to respond remotely and anonymously. During this phase, we endeavored to engage those within our Collaborative community and those in the larger community through the bulletin, email, our website and social media, and local media. Large banners were placed on the grounds of both parishes, prominently featuring the Synod logo, our website address, and the tagline “Feeling disconnected from the Church? We want to hear from you!”
At the conclusion of the listening phase in early June, we began the process of synthesizing the responses.
In July of 2022 we completed the synthesis phase, sharing the fruits of our listening sessions, online responses, and Question of the Week cards in our SJSP Collaborative Synod Synthesis Report, which was submitted to the Archdiocese of Boston and the Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops.
In October of 2023, all the bishops will meet in a formal synod process to engage with the documents from around the world.
We must understand, though, that this is not a synod with a simple beginning, middle, and end. Instead, as Fr. Jim explained to us when we began this process, we are called to continue to gather the fruits of what the Holy Spirit is saying to us, and to put synodality – speaking boldly, listening deeply, and including all – into practice in our parishes and in our Church from now on!
Stay tuned for continued updates in the months ahead!