Joining forces: Fostering a strong connection between synodality, Eucharistic Revival

By David Fremo and Kristi Anderson

Just one year ago, the Catholic Church was preparing to begin something that had never been done before: a worldwide listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit that speaks prophetically in all the People of God.

The “Synod on Synodality” kicked off locally at Diocesan Ministry Day on Oct. 23, 2021, and included our first listening activities. We have come a long way since that time. Over 4,000 participants, 100 trained listeners, dozens of group gatherings and days upon days of drawing together results have borne great fruit in our synthesis. We first shared our synthesis with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on June 30 and have expanded the content to share even more with you as part of this month’s magazine (see synod booklet accompanying the October edition of The Central Minnesota Catholic).

From the beginning, the call of the Synod has been to especially reflect on three themes: communion, participation and mission. In striving to “journey together,” Pope Francis has called synodality a “way of being the Church today according to the will of God, in a dynamic of discerning and listening together to the voice of the Holy Spirit.”

We strive to truly enter into communion with God and neighbor. We strive to invite all to participate, going beyond our own circles and patterns. We strive to engage others in love and mercy and kindness, even when it is hard or unwelcome or misunderstood. We strive to be a more authentic Church.

This striving is also at the very heart of the National Eucharistic Revival. Bishop Donald Kettler has called the Revival “a chance for us to grow, heal and learn … to know Jesus in the sacrament and in service to one another.”

“Jesus is calling to us. Let’s continue what we have started in our synodal listening and open ourselves to him — in sacrament and in our encounters with others.”

Focusing on encountering Jesus, the role of listening is at the heart of this movement. How can we prepare and open ourselves to him? How can we reflect the love he shares with us with others?

How can we make him known in the world? Synodal listening provides a wonderful example of how we can invite space in ourselves for the Holy Spirit to speak as well as give us direction that points where Jesus invites us to turn.

Perhaps more than anything else, our diocesan synodal listening brought forth — and continues to bring forth — people sharing their stories of faith. Many are joyful and inspiring and shine light on the riches of our Church. Many are painful, reflecting wounds and rejection and feelings of distance from God and others. Some reflected that the process of sharing their stories bore healing and helped them on the path of forgiveness and renewed relationships.

Some shared that these efforts were the very first time they felt respected and honored enough to come forward. Some were inspired to return to their faith communities once again. This is what Eucharistic Revival means. How profound is it that the Holy Spirit has orchestrated the synod to flow into the Revival!

In just less than a year, we will gather to celebrate our Diocesan Eucharistic Congress slated for September 2023 — a time to pray, express joys, and share stories of faith, healing and renewal from participants. Between now and then, the events and activities of the Revival are wonderful opportunities for us all to build up the Church as individuals and in our communities, not only in receiving the Eucharist but becoming Eucharist to and for one another.

Jesus is calling to us. Let’s continue what we have started in our synodal listening and open ourselves to him — in sacrament and in our encounters with others.

David Fremo is co-chair of the Diocesan Synod Team and Kristi Anderson is chair of the Diocesan Eucharistic Revival Team.

Author: The Central Minnesota Catholic

The Central Minnesota Catholic is the magazine for the Diocese of St. Cloud.

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