Teams of prayer, service

| August 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

The two-year preparation for an archdiocesan synod is going to be a large effort, and it is already a team effort. In fact, it is a team of teams. Let me give you a picture of how many people are already involved.

The first group to be involved in the synod is a group of dedicated prayers. The 25-member prayer team began meeting in the fall of 2018 and will continue meeting monthly throughout the process until spring 2021.

Bishop Andrew CozzensThis is a diverse group of faithful, mostly lay men and women who believe in the power of prayer and have committed to praying daily for this important effort. Some of them will attend each of our prayer and listening events this fall and winter, and we have especially charged them with listening more deeply to what the Holy Spirit is saying through these events. We want this process to be steeped in prayer, as the main goal of the synod is to try to discern God’s desires for our archdiocese as we move forward.

The other team, which began meeting this spring, is the executive team. The 22 members (seven work full time in parishes, 11 are archdiocesan staff, and four are dedicated volunteers) were chosen for their expertise in helping us run the mechanics of the synod process.

We have two groups who have already helped us with consultation as we design and implement the process. The first is the newly formed Lay Advisory Board, which has representatives from every deanery. At each of their meetings so far we have presented aspects of the preparation process for the synod and sought their feedback. Additionally, we formed a Priest Synod Advisory Group, just for the purpose of giving us advice about the synod.

The next group to form will be the Synod Preparatory Commission. This group will include various kinds of experts from theologians to writers. The preparatory commission is called for in the Vatican document about a diocesan synod, which can be found under the headline “Resources” on the home page of the archdiocesan website for the synod.

The document says, “The members of this preparatory commission are chosen by the Bishop from amongst the clergy and other faithful who are distinguished by their pastoral prudence and by their professional competence and who, in so far as possible, reflect the various charisms and ministries of the People of God. Some members should be expert in the disciplines of Canon Law and Sacred Liturgy.”

The document also says that the preparatory commission “helps the Bishop in drawing up the synodal Directory, in his determining those questions to be proposed for synodal deliberation, as well as in the designation of the synodal members.”

The commission will help us discern what are the particular priorities that the synod consultation will focus on in year two of preparation.

Believe it or not, still other groups will be formed! We have asked each parish to have a synod parish ambassador team, ideally of 12 members.

We will help train these folks, and they will help implement the synod at the parish level. We are asking pastors to help put together these teams even now. Also, each parish will have 10 people who are chosen to represent that parish during consultations at the deanery level, which will happen in the early months of 2021.

Finally, there will be the members of the Synod Assembly itself on Pentecost weekend 2021. Each parish will be asked to nominate two synod members and one alternate. We will ask these nominees to participate in every level of the process from the parish small groups, to the deanery consultations to the training for the Synod Assembly.

Additionally, the document on synods requires that certain people be “ex officio” members of the Synod Assembly, including, auxiliary bishops (yeah!), vicars general, episcopal vicars and vicars judicial, members of the Council of Priests (which is our deans or “vicars forane”) and some religious superiors who have houses in the archdiocese. It encourages the archbishop to appoint others also to ensure there is broad representation of the archdiocese.

What you can see from this process is that it is a work of the Church. This is one of the great gifts of the synod process: It is a chance for the Church to work together with our archbishop for the mission which Jesus gave us, “to go and make disciples” (Mt 28:19).

I’m confident that as we enter into this process together the Holy Spirit will surprise us, as he always does. As we are docile to the Holy Spirit, he will lead us to be more effective in helping spread the saving love of Jesus to all the people in the archdiocese.

Please continue to pray for this effort and please attend one of our prayer and listening events this year. Help us respond to the Holy Spirit so that we can find better ways to share the good news of Jesus Christ with our world.

Equipos de oración, servicio

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Category: Only Jesus