833: Synod Response - Listen Up! Synod Listening Session Report by Denise and Enid
Day 833: Monday, June 27, 2022
Synod Response - Listen Up!
Synod Listening Session Report by Denise and Enid
Dear Sisters and Brothers: This is the report put together by Enid and Denise which represents an excellent distillation from the recent listening session and other discussions held during the past months. Enid has already received a few suggestions for changes but would like to send this off to the Vatican in a couple of days. Should you have a (brief) suggestion please send it to Enid in an email to: email@example.com
Synod Listening Session Report
We, members of an Intentional Eucharistic Community, welcome the invitation of Pope Francis to participate in a synod listening session and explore the ways Church members can better journey together. Our members are baptized Catholics. Several are former nuns or priests. Many have spent years actively engaged in their parish communities.
We value our Catholic roots and appreciate where they have led us. The Catholic Church has many riches which we wish to keep as parts of our lives. We cherish Jesus’s messages about loving one another and caring for the least of our brothers. We honor Catholic role models, such as St. Francis.
We formed our community as a response to our disappointment with parish life as we experienced it in our area. We began our synod listening session by looking at the positive aspects of our community which we wished were more present in parishes.
First and foremost, our community is a true community. It is inclusive and small enough for all members to know each other. Our members aim to live out the Gospel mandate and support each other in times of need. They are energetic, engaged people who bring their individual gifts to the community.
Our gatherings reflect the gatherings of first century Christians with a liturgy, visiting, and a meal (before COVID). We hope large parishes would make forming community a major goal by planning activities to bring people together. Perhaps, neighborhood annexes could be established. Many Catholics attend mass as a duty. They are not encouraged to become valued members of the community.
Our community is led by laity, not clergy. Our liturgies are planned by teams of individual members. All members are equal in the authority of our spirituality. Women are not 2nd class members as they often are in parishes. The variety of presiders brings new and creative ideas to each liturgy. Our liturgies are participatory. People do not just sit and receive as they do in parishes. We are not looking at a performance. We are the liturgy. Dialog homilies give us the opportunity to share ideas and get to know each other better. We hope parishes would make efforts to help people participate more fully during their attendance at mass.
Our community vision statement includes the goal of “passionate commitment to peace and social justice.” As a community, we are involved in action and reach out to those in need. We feed the homeless, support recent immigrants, and are ready to step in where we see a need. We have a tithing committee that sends donations to organizations that members recommend.
We encourage donations that go to organizations that foster structural change. Catholic social teaching is important to us as a community. We wish Catholic social teaching would be emphasized more in homilies and other parish activities.
We concluded our listening session by considering some of the weaknesses we see in the Catholic Church today.
· The Church is often judgmental, not inclusive, not in accordance with Jesus’s message to love everyone.
· Women are not equal members. The Church is missing out on full participation of half the congregation.
· Many in the Church hierarchy are fearful of letting laity have a voice.
· Pastors are burdened with attending to finances and administration. Promoting lay parish administrators would allow pastors to attend to the pastoral needs of the parish.
· Pastors sometimes are more focused on administering sacraments and avoid supporting the local community concerns of their parishioners.
· The Church hierarchy does not always follow its messages of love and acceptance or serve as role models.
· The Church hierarchy needs to listen to peace and justice concerns.
· The Church should move away from a pray, pay, and obey attitude. It does not promote attachment or enthusiasm.
We appreciate this opportunity to share our thoughts about the Catholic Church and pray for the success of this synod process.
Denise Dixon and Enid Macken
for the Emmaus Intentional Eucharistic Community
Sonoma County, California USA