With the synod’s diocesan phase coming to an end, the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau will host a concluding synod liturgy Mass at 5:30 p.m. on Pentecost Sunday, June 5, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Anchorage.
During the liturgy, representatives of parishes and missions from across the archdiocese will join together for the presentation of the final synod report to Archbishop Andrew Bellisario, C.M. The report, prepared by the synod committee, combines the collective responses received from dialogue sessions during the diocesan phase.
The liturgy Mass will be livestreamed on the archdiocese’s website (www.aoaj.org).
Over the past five months, the synod committee has encouraged all parishes, individuals, schools, groups, and institutions within the archdiocese to embrace Pope Francis’ call to synodality by engaging in listening and dialogue.
The pope encouraged the dialogue sessions to be diverse by including old and young, those feeling on the margins, those with different abilities or cultural backgrounds, or those with different views. He also encouraged dialogue sessions to be an experience where all felt safe, respected, and heard, no matter their point of view. Each synod session was designed to make all feel welcome and comfortable while sharing their unique, lived experiences of church.
For the archdiocese, some dialogue sessions were organized where parishioners from all backgrounds and ideas could gather. In some instances, this occurred naturally as people signed up for sessions that accommodated their schedules. Other dialogue sessions were specifically arranged to meet the group’s needs, such as those living and working in a homeless shelter, a group who were uncomfortable gathering in person due to COVID concerns, a group who didn’t feel comfortable in a church setting, or a group where English was not their first language.
As the diocesan phase comes to a close, the synod committee expressed its thanks to people who participated and all those who have helped to make this process successful. Engaging in respectful listening is hard. Committee officials said it hopes “each person has been blessed by journeying together and gained some understanding of what walking together means.” And for those who submitted responses to the synod questions online or directly to the committee, the committee said their responses are “valued” and will be “included.”
Editor’s note: Writer Mary Gore contributed to the article.