Beginning of the synodal process in the Diocese of Salt Lake City


Friday, October 22, 2021

IC photo / Marie Mischel

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Bishop Oscar A. Solis preaches at the opening mass of the diocesan synod on October 17 at the Cathedral of the Madeleine.

By Marie Mischel

Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY – As the Universal Church prepares for the Synod of Bishops in 2023, parishes around the world are invited to contribute to the process by reflecting on how the Church can “live communion, achieve participation , open up to the mission, ”as the preparatory document for the Synod indicates.

Over the next two years, the synodal process will have three facets: diocesan, national and international, which will end with the synodal meeting in Rome.

On October 10, Pope Francis officially opened the synod process. On October 17, bishops around the world opened the process in their dioceses. Bishop Oscar A. Solis opened the process for the Diocese of Salt Lake City by celebrating a mass at 6 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Magdalen. The concelebrants were Monsignor Colin F. Bircumshaw, Vicar General; the Very Reverend Martin Diaz, rector of the cathedral; Father Kenneth Vialpando, vicar of the clergy; Bro. John Evans, coordinator of the efforts of the diocesan synod; and several other diocesan priests. Deacon John Kranz was deacon of the Mass; Deacon George Reade, Chancellor, and Deacon Guillermo Mendez were chaplains.

Representatives of the various multi-ethnic communities of the diocese, diocesan leaders, pastors and parish representatives attended the mass. The readings were proclaimed in Spanish, Tagalog and English; The Prayers of the Faithful were read in English, Korean, Vietnamese, Tongan and African – some of the many languages ​​spoken in the diocese.

In the coming months, the dioceses are invited to organize listening sessions as part of the synodal process “to humbly learn together how God calls us to be as the Church of the third millennium”, declares the synod manual, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission,” which was published by the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican.

During his homily at Mass on October 17, Bishop Solis said: “Today our Diocese of Salt Lake City joins Catholics around the world in a synodal process called by Pope Francis. He said that the synod or synodality is a way to walk together, to walk together on the same path in the way of the Lord that the people of God join with Christ to meet or to dialogue, to listen to the Holy Spirit and to discern the voice of God in our hearts.

The theme of the synod is threefold: participation, communion and mission, declared the bishop. “It is not intended as a planning meeting or a platform for agendas, but a time of prayerful listening and discernment, reaching out to those currently involved in the life of the Church as well as those who do not, and this diocesan synod process includes meetings in our parishes and missions across the diocese with an emphasis on listening and consulting the People of God.

During this journey, the people of God are called “to devote time to prayer and adoration, to listen to what the Holy Spirit wants to say to the Church, to reflect and ask themselves if we Church, let us embody the way of God who follows the path of history and shares in the light of humanity, to reflect on our own relationship with Christ, our communion with him and his Church and how we participate in his mission , the mission of evangelization, and of course, to renew our faith and share with others our mission of evangelization ”, declared the bishop.

“This is a pivotal moment in the life of the Church, to open its doors, ears and heart to listen to the voice of the people on how we do as a Church and what we want to see. ‘Church be in the future years’, he added, asserting that the synodal process is “a call to the mission to profess our faith in Jesus, to share our faith with one another and to carry out this mission. in a spirit of service and sacrifice ”.

A few days before Mass, at the annual fall convocation of diocesan priests, Fr. Evans told the presbyterate that his local synod effort preparation team would have an orientation meeting on October 20. The 17-member team includes priests and deacons as well as two lay members from each deanery.

The team will send information to the priests on how to organize listening sessions. Bro. Evans sought the support and help of his fellow priests, stressing that “listening sessions are not a place to solve problems. The idea of ​​the Synod is that we listen to each other.

Each parish is invited to invite to the listening sessions not only practicing Catholics, but also those who have strayed from the Church, people of other faiths and people without a religious tradition. One of the pitfalls of this process may be “the temptation not to look beyond the visible boundaries of the Church,” says the synod manual.

“When we do this by parish, it is not by the ownership of your parish church, it is by your parish territory, and you will be asked to reach out to the peripheries,” said Fr. Evans said. to his fellow priests.

This openness is not an attempt by the Church to assimilate into a larger culture, but rather to try to understand the issues, he said, adding that she asks the question, “How do we shape us our dreams and we hope in our fidelity to the Spirit from where we would go in the Church?

Listening sessions will begin in November and run until mid-February, he said. Comments from the sessions in the parishes will be compiled in a document to the diocese which will then be sent to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which will compile a document from the United States which will be sent to Rome for the Synod of Bishops. .

During the convocation of priests, Bishop Solis declared that the Synod is “an exciting and magnificent moment in the life of the Church”. He noted that he had been a priest for almost 43 years, “and this is the first time that I have heard the Vatican take the initiative to listen to the people. Usually the Vatican imposes guidelines rather than asking for comment.

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