Categories: Pastor's Desk

This weekend, our Family of Parishes formally begins the local phase of the synodal process. We’ve been using the words “synod” and “synodality” at Mass for several weeks now. As we formally begin this process, it’s important to take some time to unpack what these words mean, and what they mean for our Church.

A synod is an assembly of the clergy and laity in the Church. Synodality refers to the attitude with which members of the church gather together. Synodality describes a process of collaboration and discernment which defines the life and mission of the church. Synodality reminds us that all people are called to walk together, to journey together, and participate in the church’s mission of evangelization.

This work of synodality is accomplished by gathering together and listening to each other. Synodality allows us to create a space for people to share their experience of the Church, and to express their hopes and dreams for the Church of the future. As we listen to one another, we begin to see how the Holy Spirit is moving in our midst. We begin to see how the Spirit is calling us to serve others and fulfill the mission of the Church. This work of synodality involves everyone- Catholic or not, practicing their faith or not. Pope Francis has called us to listen to anyone who wishes to share their experience of the church, so that we can understand how our church is perceived by those who do not usually attend Mass.

This work of listening allows us to truly accompany others, and walk with them on their life’s journey. Accompanying others, and truly listening to them, allows us to set aside our ego, and truly “remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other” (Evangelii Gaudium, 169). As we listen to the experiences of others, we begin to see how we can be a better Church, and truly serve those we encounter as Christ has commanded us.

If we are truly going to walk this journey of synodality, we are called to resist the temptation to turn inwards, and focus only on ourselves. This is precisely how the devil tempts Jesus in today’s Gospel. In each of his responses to the devil’s temptations, Jesus reminds us that our life is not about caring only for ourselves. We need to be in relationship with others, and above all, we need to be in relationship with God. As we begin this Lenten season, and as we walk this journey of synodality, I invite each of you to ask God how he is calling you to journey with others throughout this Lenten season. May this be a time of renewal for us all.

Please be sure to visit our website for information on synodal listening sessions, and for the most up-to-date information about the synodal process in our Family of Parishes.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Steven Huber, CSB