The success of the virtual 4th and 5th gatherings inspired the service group of MovCom to do a virtual 6th gathering, which took place on February 4, 2023, and unanimously decided on the topic “Synodality”, the theme of the next Synod of Bishops in Rome – “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.”
“Synodality” “describes the way the entire Church—all of the baptized—seeks to discern together where the Holy Spirit is leading us right now. For this next synod, Pope Francis invited the entire Church to join in a global discernment which requires the whole Church to ‘listen humbly’ (to Scripture and the teachings of the Church, to the ‘signs of the times,’ to those on the peripheries, and to one another) and ‘speak boldly’ with conviction and clarity.”
The virtual 6th Gathering started with the welcome remarks of Bishop Sam Jacobs and review of the vision and mission of MovCom.US. He then introduced the main speaker, Bishop Daniel Flores, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine, and sharer Paul Jarzemsbowski, USCCB Associate Director for Secretariat on Laity, Marriage, Family life, and Youth. You may follow their contributions on the video above.
BISHOP DANIEL FLORES’ CONTRIBUTION
Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, TX, Chair of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine, joined the gathering to offer insights on Synodality. He described the process as an attempt by the bishops to allow the baptized to express what is on their hearts and minds, similar to how Jesus listened to the people and charged his apostles with building up the Church.
He spoke to the fact that the Second Vatican Council encouraged bishops around the world to work together with the Holy Father to fulfil their mutual responsibility for the good of the whole church. To further that mission, Pope Francis asked local bishops to hold listening sessions in their parishes to identify particular needs in each diocese. These small groups met to pray, listen, and share their greatest joys and concerns in the church, believing that discerning the will of the Spirit is the responsibility of all the faithful, not just the bishops. Reflections from these groups allowed the bishops to connect with their people and assisted them in determining priorities in their individual dioceses.
Bishop Flores affirmed the vibrancy of the Apostolic movements, with many people drawn to the life of the church through the personal relationships nurtured within them. He urged all of us to make our local bishops more aware of the unique gifts of our movements and new communities so we can be an important voice in revealing how to live our faith deeply in this ever-changing world.
CONTRIBUTION OF PAUL JARZEMBOWSKI
From the perspective of the laity, the synodal process has been enriching as it raised up voices from the margins of the lay community of the Church. There was a freedom of expression that allowed stories of hurts, frustrations, and fears, along with gratitude and good works to come forth without judgement. There was a general thirst for inclusion, belonging, and collaboration and a general disdain for isolation, polarization, and the hermeneutic of suspicion.
The entire synodal process reminds us of Pope Francis’ encouragement of four key principles in Evangelii Gaudium (nos. 222-237): that time is greater than space, unity is greater than conflict, realties are greater than ideas, and the whole is greater than the parts; in other words, the values of patient process, prayerful harmony, authentic listening, and mutuality in community can yield trust that can build bridges between isolated groups. Young people especially encouraged this “journeying together” as a “caravan” where we are all on pilgrimage, young and old, across cultures and communities, headed towards Christ, who unites us together.
The participants were then divided into small groups to discuss:
– Why should we care about synodality
– How will it affect me personally
– How will it affect my movement/new community
The segment moderator, Enrique Soros, called on discussion group leaders to report. Due to time constraint, only four DG leaders were able to share. Below is a sampling of the comments and feedback:
Due to the significant interest of members and importance of Eucharistic Revival (theme of the 5th Gathering), the service group decided to add a review of last year’s virtual gathering. In his PowerPoint presentation, Norby Perrin summarized the message of main speaker Bs. Andrew Cozzens, and the sharing of Fr. Jorge Torres. He encouraged participants to review last year’s proceedings at https://movcom.us and get updates from the USCCB website and www.eucharisticrevival.org
Nadia Lopez, National Cursillo Service Administrator, shared how her community works with the guidelines of the Synod
Bishop Sam closed the gathering with a prayer and invitation for everyone to participate in a short survey on MovCom next step.
In closing, your MovCom service group invites everyone to check the USCCB website for Bs. Flores’ “National Synthesis of the People of God in the United States of America for the Diocesan Phase of the 2021-2023 Synod”