The “synodal” process is one in which the Church engages her members through a variety of gatherings and discussions rooted in prayerful listening. Asynodal Church fosters “communion, participation,[and] mission” — three words that are at the heart of the current process. It is the people of God “journeying together” in faith — not with the aim of changing Church doctrine or altering Church teaching, but living our faith more authentically and discerning where the Holy Spirit is leading the Church, including the Diocese of St. Cloud, at this particular time in history.
Please watch for information about how to participate in local synodal gatherings and discussions. It is especially important for me that the local process reaches people whom we too often fail to engage, including the poor in our communities, refugees and migrants, and those who are alienated or disaffiliated from the Church for whatever reasons. Let’s also not forget youth and young adults, the homebound, those coping with mental health issues and parishioners who attend Mass infrequently and aren’t involved otherwise in the life of the Church. We can learn much from listening to what they have to say.
The local synodal process will last until June. Our diocese will then submit a summary of the themes that surface during the discussions to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which will compile the information it receives from dioceses across the country. A summary will then be presented to the Vatican and combined with summaries from other parts of the world. Documents based on this input will help to guide conversations at the 2023 world Synod of Bishops. Sometime later, the pope will issue his own document about synodality for the entire Church.
We don’t need to wait, however, until that time to begin using the information we garner from the local synod process. What we learn can assist us in identifying ministry priorities in the diocese for the next several years, help ongoing planning efforts in Area Catholic Communities and help us prepare better for the Eucharistic Revival, which begins June 19, the feast of Corpus Christi.
A good way to prepare for the revival is by reading the document adopted by U.S. bishops in November, “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church.” You can find it on the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It’s a wonderful teaching document that will help you reflect on the gift of the Eucharist and Christ’s real presence. There are references to Scripture, the lives of the saints, prayers of the Church and documents from the Second Vatican Council. The document is ideal for reading and reflection as a parish or ACC study group.
I also encourage everyone in our diocese to deepen their appreciation of the gift of the Eucharist through active participation in Sunday Mass as well as spending time in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. Art, music and spiritual reading offer other avenues to help us appreciate the beauty of the Eucharist and fall in love with the real presence of Christ, who is always with us. This, ultimately, is the goal of the revival.
I look forward to our diocese’s involvement in these initiatives, and I hope you will participate as much as you are able.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of Saint Cloud
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