“Why should I participate in a synod dialogue session?”
This is a question the synod committee has heard the past two months as the synodal process moves forward in the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau.
The synod asks everyone to discuss about how the Church can best live out its mission of witnessing the love of God to the whole human family.
As stated in the synodal preparation documents, this process “could require us to renew our attitudes and church structures to live out God’s call for the Church amid the present signs of the times.”
The synod committee doesn’t know how the synodal process will impact the local and universal Church and its structures, but having a greater understanding for each other’s experiences and views, through synodal encounters and participation, is the first step to walking together.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus provides an example of how to love a neighbor through walking, listening, and accompanying neighbors in his own life.
Catholics are asked to live out their faith in communion — pray, celebrate, and care for other. Walking together is how Catholic Christians can live out that faith in the world.
Yet, the question remains: “Why should I participate in the synod?”
First, each person has a personal experience of the Church, and has valued thoughts and ideas about how the Church should live out its mission.
Second, the church needs to hear people’s experiences to fully discern how it can best be a witness of God’s love to the whole human family.
Thirdly, Pope Francis invited everyone to share their vision of the Church to help it throughout its synodal journey.
Each person must discover their own motive for participating in the dialogue sessions.
Dialogue sessions have been going on across the archdiocese since mid-January. They have been led by parishes, prayer groups, individual ministries, and the synod committee. More are expected in the future.
Listen to what some people anonymously shared about their experience at the dialogue sessions:
“Our whole experience was refreshing, encouraging and energizing.”
“As a facilitator, It was encouraging to hear Catholics from different backgrounds and ideas to listen and learn from one another through this process.”
“I was tickled to be able to give my vision for the future church and to hear other’s vision as well. The fact that my testimony will be considered by church leaders on an equal basis will all believers, is especially encouraging. Now that I understand the process, I think it is awesome, but it will only bear fruit if an abundance of Catholics participate.”