top of page
  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

553 "Without the Holy Spirit, there is no synodality" - Francis

Day 553 Monday, September 20th, 2021

A synod is “a journey involving bishops, priests, religious, and lay Catholics, each according to the gifts and charisms of their vocation… The soul of the Synod is the Holy Spirit."

We’ve been discussing the word and the idea of synod. It’s not an especially appealing word in itself but it’s an easy concept. Think of a family trying to determine the direction and plan for something significant: An upcoming wedding, the birth of a child, a decision about a living situation for an elder. Each person involved in the discussion is important and each provides input. Most people would call this a family discussion. In the church, we call it a synod.

As members of the family of Catholics we have endured much in the last 30 years – Think of the sex and financial scandals that have destroyed trust and emptied our parishes. The inability of the church to welcome people who have been divorced or celebrate and bless committed couples in same-sex marriages. The failure of the church to welcome women into priesthood and into positions of authority. The constant anti LGBTQ+ propaganda and the growing divide between liberal and conservative Catholics. It’s apparent that we need a deep conversation that brings us all together under the auspices of the Spirit. And that’s the hope.

Francis defines synod very broadly as a conversation of discernment that encourages the voices of all participants on a shared journey of faith. According to Francis, the Synod of 2022 is “a journey involving bishops, priests, religious, and lay Catholics, each according to the gifts and charisms of their vocation… The soul of the Synod is the Holy Spirit."

"Synodality is a style, it is a walk together, and it is what the Lord expects from the Church of the third millennium” - Pope Francis

Synodality is very well known in some parts of the Catholic world. Latin American bishops are experienced practitioners of the Synod and have met many times in the past 60 years. A couple of significant synods: The 1968 synod in Medellin Colombia led to the adoption of liberation theology. In 2019 there was a special Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region which brought together indigenous people, nuns, laity, and bishops from each country through which the Amazon flows.

The Germans and other European bishops have seen their parishioners leave in doves. Once full cathedrals and churches are virtually empty. German bishops are eager to listen and change.

Unfortunately, American bishops have historically preferred to “go it alone” and have little experience with listening. They have, in general, acted negatively toward the call for synods that bring them into contact with all the people of God. It will challenge them to meet Francis’ call.

But Francis is undaunted and has sent out questionnaires to each bishop asking for feedback on the path the Church should be taking. This questionnaire should be distributed widely to parishioners and even to people who have left the church. As people committed to a eucharistic community, it’s up to us to make our voices heard.

A year from now, in October 2022, bishops from around the world will meet in Rome to discuss the theme: "For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission."

Pope Francis told the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's theological commission in November that synodality will be key for the Church in the future.

The Synod of Bishops was created in 1965 by Paul VI, who to encourage close union between the pope and the world's bishops and to "insure that direct and real information is provided on questions and situations touching upon the internal action of the Church and its necessary activity in the world of today."

In March 2018, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith's International Theological Commission produced a document on the theological roots of synodality in the Church: "Synodality in the Life and Mission of the Church."

The Congregation document noted that in the history of the Church, synods and councils were nearly interchangeable terms for formal ecclesiastical assemblies.

"Without the Holy Spirit, there is no synodality," Pope Francis said.

Let's stir the Spirit!

Watch this space for updates and actions we can take to make our voices heard.



Journey of the Universe Conversations with Steve Lyman

Meets Today: Monday September 20th

from 2-4 pm at Nancy and Bob's home:

2404 Marylyn Circle

Petaluma, California

Please make sure to wear a mask. Thank you

Announcement #2: Board Meeting tomorrow on ZOOM

September 21st, 2021

3 - 5 PM

(All are welcome)

Join Zoom Meeting (Zoom will open at 2:45)

Meeting ID: 519 315 8573

Passcode: 1234

Here are the notes in WORD and PDF formats:

Board Meeting for September 21st_v2
Download DOCX • 21KB

Board Meeting for September 21st_v2
Download PDF • 42KB

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

These are the agenda items I've got so far.

1. An update on our finances

2. A discussion on event support for "Celebrations of Life" and other events

3. A list of donations we have given

4. Update on celebrants for the fall and winter (any changes etc.)

5. A discussion of the capabilities of “Google for Non-Profits

I've asked Dan Lambert about his thoughts about transitioning from our current email model into a Google service named, appropriately enough, "Google for Non-Profits" which Ed FitzGerald has mentioned several times.

Ed's a proponent of this service and has extensive experience with it within his own non-profit. His experience and insights will help to make this transition much smoother.

We've spoken in the past and I look forward to his thoughts on this service.

Here's the link to the information which I've already sent to Dan

Dan responded with ideas drawn from the Google website and a very simple suggestion -

to place our Vision and Mission statements on the front page of the website. Makes a lot of sense.

Dan adds:

Before You Begin…

1. Make sure you are registered as a charity in your country (501c3 in the US)

2. Review the eligibility requirements to ensure you’re not on the list of ineligible organizations.

3. Ensure your mission statement can be easily found on your website. Google uses it to determine your eligibility.

4. Log into an appropriate Google account before you start the application, such as your work email; it will be linked to your organization’s application. You can add other linked accounts later.

The biggest cost will be the “learning curve” but since I have a paid G-Suite (Google Workspace) account I do have some familiarity with a bit of this.

We also need to figure out the existing Calendar - any idea whose calendar that might be? I'd really like to use the Calendar to announce events that people from the community would like to feature.

I think the Calendar will fix itself once we have the Calendar pointed to the correct Emmaus email which I think we set up in transitioning to Google for non-profits.

Further questions: Our website has been generally unchanged for a long time.

Jim - I think you're the biggest contributor we have and you keep adding liturgies and other information to it which is great.

I've added the daily Blog during Covid. But the overall website needs refreshing with new photos, documents and links to recent ZOOM liturgies.

I look forward to discussing this with you all and sharing ideas - If you like, we can start a shared document in Google Drive and share ideas there.

I think all ideas are on the table.

Do we really need a website?

Would we be better served by another form of communication?

How many people visit the website in a typical month?

Do they find it useful?

If we decide we need a website how should we plan to keep it fed?

Do we need a committee to care for the website? So many questions!

44 views0 comments
bottom of page