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Message from the Archbishop
To the Priests, Deacons, and Lay Faithful,
As many of you already know, my heart and vision for our Archdiocese is a Church that is alive in Christ and missionary in its zeal to bring the message, hope, and love of Christ to all.
My journey through this first year of ministry as your Archbishop coincides with a crucial time in the life of the Church and the world which has been marked by increased suffering, injustice, and abuse of power. It is important that our path forward include humbly listening to one another, and especially to those on the margins of the Church and of society. For this reason, it is somewhat providential that in April 2021, Pope Francis initiated a synodal journey of the whole People of God, to begin in October 2021 in each local Church and culminating in October 2023 in the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
A Synod is fundamentally a spiritual process of listening and discerning how God is calling us to be a Church in the third millennium. It is a humble listening and a journey together which aims towards unity and understanding and should not be confused with a political process marked by power struggles. In creating the opportunity for listening, dialogue, and discernment at the local level through this Synod, Pope Francis is calling the Church to rediscover its deeply synodal nature.
Our diocesan synodal process will bring together the voices of the People of God in order to ask one fundamental question: A Synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, “journeys together.” How is this “journeying together” happening today in our local Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “journeying together”? This synodal journey together will solemnly begin on the 9th and 10th of October in Rome, followed by an official opening in our own diocese the following Sunday October 17th. Please stay tuned for further details on this.
We will do our best during this time of pandemic to find creative and flexible ways of embarking on this journey, mindful also of the many challenges currently being faced both within the parish and the broader community. We have created a special section on the website for the synod process where you will find relevant documents and links May the Holy Spirit guide us in this journey together.
✠ Marcel Damphousse
Archbishop of Ottawa-Cornwall
A Synod is…
The official process of the Church of listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit on a particular subject.
This specific Synod is on Synodality. Its focus is on listening to the Holy Spirit on how we can journey better together as Church.
A synod engages an open dialogue with:
- members of the Church
- other Christians
- the whole of society
The Purpose of the this Synod
A SYNOD ON SYNODALITY, AS A WAY OF BEING CHURCH
The theme of this synod is about the very nature of the Church, the specific modus vivendi et operandi [way of living and operating] as Church. It is an opportunity to discern together how we move along the path toward a more synodal Church, as a way of being for how the Church lives her mission in the world.
The process of listening, learning, and discerning together, helps to foster communion, renewal, and a missionary heart within the Church. With the convocation of this synod, Pope Francis is inspiring a process of listening to one another and to the Holy Spirit in the local parishes in order to discern the path we are called to walk together as Church. In other words, this synod is really about being synodal in order to learn how to become more synodal.
“Our walk together in following Christ is what most resembles and manifests the nature of the Church as the pilgrim and missionary People of God.” The Church already has many ways in which she lives this idea of synodality, such as youth groups, bible study groups, CWL, Knights of Columbus, parish council, and outreach to the poor and marginalized.
Ten Themes of Synodality
BE COMPANIONS ON THE JOURNEY
In the Church and in society, we are side by side on the same road.
LISTENING TO THE HOLY SPIRIT AND EACH OTHER
Listening is the first step, but it requires having an open mind and heart, without prejudice.
All are invited to speak with courage and parrhesia, that is, integrating freedom, truth, and charity.
“Journeying together” is only possible if it is based on communal listening to the Word and the celebration of the Eucharist.
SHARING RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR COMMON MISSION
Synodality is at the service of the mission of the Church, in which all members are called to participate.
JOINING DIALOGUE IN THE CHURCH AND IN WIDER SOCIETY
Dialogue is a path of perseverance that also includes silences and sufferings, but which is capable of gathering the experience of persons and peoples.
PARTICIPATING IN ECUMENISM
The dialogue between Christians of different confessions, united by one baptism, has a special place in the synodal journey.
EACH CLAIMING THEIR AUTHORITY AND PARTICIPATION
A synodal Church is a participatory and co-responsible Church.
DISCERNING AND DECIDING
In a synodal style, decisions are made through discernment, based on a consensus that flows from the common obedience to the Spirit.
FORMING OURSELVES IN SYNODALITY
The spirituality of journeying together is called to become an educational principle for the formation of the human person and of the Christian, of the families, and of the communities.