August 12, 2022

Archdiocese completes its synod report on how the faithful are called to help guide the Church

(En Espanol)

Criterion staff report

The logo for the October 2023 meeting of the world Synod of Bishops at the VaticanIn preparation for the October 2023 meeting of the world Synod of Bishops at the Vatican, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis has completed its report on the local synod listening process. The report has been forwarded to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and is now available in English and Spanish at www.archindy.org/synod.

The USCCB will formulate a report based on input from dioceses across the country. This report, along with others from bishops’ conferences from around the world, will then be sent to the Vatican as it prepares for the 2023 Synod of Bishops, where synodality—how the faithful are called to contribute to the guiding of the life of the Church through prayerful listening and sharing their own thoughts—will be the topic of discussion.

Pope Francis noted that the synod’s theme, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission,” offers an opportunity to help Catholics around the world—lay faithful, religious and clergy—to experience what it means to come together to discern with the help of the Holy Spirit how the Church is called to live out its mission in this time in history.

“While the Synod on Synodality is a special moment for our Church, as are all synods, synodality has long been a part of the Church’s history and identity,” said Archbishop Charles C. Thompson. “The notion of synodality is about a process of praying, listening, dialoguing, accompanying, encountering and discerning the movement of the Holy Spirit in the life and mission of the people of God. Each and every baptized member is called to missionary discipleship, participating in the life and mission of the Church.”

Through the synodal process, the archbishop continued, the Church “seeks mutual respect, understanding, reconciliation and a path forward as a pilgrim people in faith, hope and charity.  This is a process for the Church locally, nationally and universally. The Church, the body of Christ, comprises a rich fabric of peoples, cultures, languages and customs. Remaining vigilant, we must remain open to divine revelation through word, sacrament and service.”

As part of the synod preparation, Catholics across central and southern Indiana were surveyed to answer questions about the life of the local Church. Input was collected from multiple sources: an archdiocesan online survey, the archdiocesan pastoral council, parish pastoral councils, young adults, Hispanic Catholics, those involved in Catholic schools and leaders of Christian and other faith communities in central and southern Indiana.

“In my 25-plus years of Church-related work, I’ve found that we’re much more of a listening Church than many folks realize,” said archdiocesan director of catechesis Ken Ogorek, who coordinated the archdiocese’s synodal process. “That doesn’t mean that every idea comes to fruition. This most recent synod preparation process is a great example of God’s people listening, discerning, reporting and waiting—like our Blessed Mother—for God’s next step.”

Archbishop Thompson agreed.

“The process of synodality is only as effective as the participation of those willing to engage in prayerful, sincere relationship with one another,” he said. “The Archdiocese of Indianapolis is blessed with incredible clergy, religious and laity throughout central and southern Indiana. There is a place at the table for everyone. May God continue to renew our hearts and minds, bringing to completion the good that has begun in the journey of salvation.”

Here is a synopsis of the highlights of the report: 

• We (the archdiocese) asked for, and received, many heartfelt thoughts and feelings about the Church locally as well as throughout the world.

• The synthesis report is a beginning, not an end. It summarizes a large amount of input and can now be used for pastoral planning in a variety of settings. 

• Listening to each other while journeying with Christ toward a fuller manifestation of God’s kingdom is an ongoing process. Our local synod preparation experience builds on prior efforts and sets the stage for additional dialogue, accompaniment and collaboration. †

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