Being Synodal Church in a Parish

Pope Francis, our holy father calls the entire Church to become a synodal Church. What would it mean for a parish to become a synodal Church? Synodality involves the participation of the entire people of God in the life and mission of the Church. How are we to be a synodal Church in a Parish? How are we to renew ourselves to become a site of synodality and synodal formation in our Parish ? What are we to do to usher in this new way of being Church? We certainly need new ways of walking with all the Parishioners. The faith journey of every faithful in our Parish has to be valued by us. This would require us to become open to listen to all voices in our Parish and embrace honest ways to discern the signs of the time to live the mission of our Lord in the context of a parish. This would mean we have to continuously spiritually convert ourselves to seek courageous and creative paths of pastoral action.

Parish was already engaged in the synodal journey of the Diocese and, thus, it also journeyed with the national, continental as well as will join the universal synod of the Church. Hence, to continue this journey it becomes duty bound for the Parish Priest and other pastoral workers as well as the Parish Pastoral Council to collaborate in the spirit of communion to make the Church a site of synodality. A synodal Church requires synodal formation and, therefore, the faithful in the Parish have to be initiated into values and practices of synodal life of the Church. This synodal formation has to be centered arround the celebration of the eucharist. Eucharistic synaxis will generate a disposition that each of the faithful forms the Body of Christ which in its turn would animate their missionary zeal to reach out to the poorest and most excluded. Centered arround the Eucharist, the Parishioners with thier Parish Priest are to grow in fellowship inwardly and validate every little contribution for the growth of every member of the community without forgetting their missionary outreach.

A Synodal experience is an experience of the treasures of diversity in the power of the Holy Spirit. Synodal Church in a Parish lives communion which values the different journeys of every Parishioner. This is why a synodal Church lives the mercy and compassion of the Lord without imposing one singular monadic way on everyone as far as possible . It values communion in the spirit of unity and not in the force of uniformity. This means practices of synodality requires constant prayer, listening, reflection and discernment so that the whole people of God in the parish grows in communion with the triune God and the Church spread all over the world joyfully living the mission of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The experience of synodality has the power to alert and sensitise us to the needs of every person in the Parish. The old, the sick, the challenged , poor and people of other faiths call for special compassionate listening and pastoral action. The children, the youth and the newly married couples as well as those that seem to have lost their way in life because of their special needs challenge us to keep our ears firmly on the ground. Thus, discerning in prayer and discussion with the Parish teams both at the level of the Parish Pastoral Council and the Small Christian Communities, a pastoral response has to be initiated to the different needs of the people in the Parish.

To let the Parish grow in the synodal experience all the associations, movements and groups in the Parish have to work in the spirit of synodality. Each of these associations and movements have the challenge to work as different organs of one Body of Christ in the Parish with their Parish Priest. This means they would need to dialogue and have to journey together with other groups doing different apostolates in the Parish . Thus, the Confraria members, members of Legion of Mary, St. Vincent de Paul , Youth, cathecatical, family movements etc, have to collaborate and coordinate their ministries so that the whole pastoral action in the Parish becomes an act of the whole Body of Christ in the Parish .

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao