From the very beginning, organizers of this year’s Diocesan Ministry Day aimed to create a bilingual event in which area Catholics could celebrate their faith and the gifts they bring to their parishes and Area Catholic Communities. That’s still the plan, but it also will be a day to launch the diocese’s local participation in the upcoming world Synod of Bishops.
Bishop Donald Kettler will celebrate Mass for those attending Diocesan Ministry Day, set for Saturday, Oct. 23, at St. John’s University in Collegeville. The Mass will open the diocesan phase of the synod process.
“This is huge because synods don’t typically start with the people of God,” said Kristi Bivens, associate director of lay leadership formation for the Diocese of St. Cloud and one of two co-chairs for Diocesan Ministry Day. ”Synods usually involve the bishops and their advisers, it’s exciting that this one is starting with the people.”
Earlier this month, the Vatican issued a document for dioceses as part of the universal Church’s preparations for the 2023 Synod of Bishops. In many ways, the international gathering will be a synod on “synodality” — a term that means “walking together,” Bishop Kettler wrote in a letter to pastors Sept. 22.
Pope Francis has asked dioceses around the world to engage in a listening process in the lead up to the international gathering to better understand where the Holy Spirit wants to lead the Church.
“It is an invitation from the Holy Father to the entire Church to reflect on ways of journeying together as the People of God in order to deepen communion, foster greater participation, and better live out our mission as baptized members of the Church,” Bishop Kettler said in this letter.
“As part of the international preparations for the synod, Pope Francis is asking every diocese to commence a six-month-long pre-synod process beginning in October that includes ‘listening to all of the baptized’ locally and sharing what is learned with the rest of the Church,” he added.
Dioceses around the world will open the diocesan-level synodal process with special Masses on Oct. 17. However, since the goals of Diocesan Ministry Day and the synod are similar, Bishop Kettler decided to open the diocesan phase at the DMD Mass.
More information about the synod and how the listening process will be conducted in the Diocese of St. Cloud will be communicated when it becomes available.
In addition to Mass, Diocesan Ministry Day also will include a presentation from Cindy Liliana González of the Emmaus Institute at St. John’s, a presentation on the synod, discussion groups and a sending ritual. Registration/check-in on Oct. 23 begins at 8:15; the sending ritual is at 3:30 p.m.
Bivens said she thinks González will inspire us to want to be a better Church. She will talk about how there’s a kinship in what we have together as Catholics and that, when we come together, we are on holy ground.
“We’re planning a moment of holiness,” Bivens said. “We’re doing this so we can encounter one another, be with one another, celebrate one another, and it’s all rooted in our common belief in God.”
For more information or to register for Diocesan Ministry Day, visit https://stcdio.org/2021-diocesan-ministry-day.
For more information about the synod, visit https://stcdio.org/synod-2021-2023.
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