What is the purpose of the synod?
“We recall that the purpose of the synod, and therefore of this consultation, is not to produce documents, but “to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands.” Pope Francis Vatican Preparatory Document #32
Welcome to the Synod Committee Update Section of the North Star Catholic.
For the next four months we will post continual news and updates on the synod process within the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau. The archbishop established a committee and tasked it with creating a comprehensive plan to be used by all parishes, schools, institutions and special groups that gather. This will ensure consistence and integrity throughout the synod process in our vast archdiocese.
This synod is unique because it begins with the work of the Holy Spirit through listening and dialogue with the people of God worldwide, beginning at the diocesan level. Each diocese will host listening sessions in their local communities and then compile their work and submit a report to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB. With the continued guidance of the Holy Spirt, the work of all 196 dioceses in the United States will be synthesized and combined into the first edition of the Instrumentum Laboris, published by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops in Rome. This document will then become the “working document” for the next step in the process, the Continental Consultation in March of 2023. Bishop representatives from North and Central America will gather together, and guided by the Holy Spirit, synthesize the responses from all the countries in our continent into one document. The seven documents from the seven continents will then generate the second Instrumentum Laboris which will be used at the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2023. The aim of the Synod of Bishops is not to overshadow the diocesan and continental phases, but to discern at a universal level, the voice of the Holy Spirit who has been speaking throughout the entire Church.
At the local level, the synodal process allows for:
•Discernment through listening, to create space for the guidance of the Holy Spirit;
•Accessibility, to ensure as many people as possible can participate, regardless of location, language, education, socio-economic status, ability/disability or material resources;
•Cultural awareness, to celebrate and embrace the diversity within local communities;
•Inclusion, making every effort to involve those who feel excluded or marginalized.
Our plan is that this section of the paper will have thought-provoking questions to encourage reflection in preparation for participation in a dialogue session. Dialogue sessions will be held both in person and by Zoom coordinated by both parishes and the archdiocese. All parishes and archdiocesan dialogue sessions will be posted on the archdiocesan website, aoaj.org You can also email the synod committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. As Archbishop Andrew Bellisario, C.M., stated in his letter to the people of the archdiocese, “the success of synodality ultimately rests with all of us.”
What is the purpose of the synod?