835: Our members aim to live out the Gospel mandate and support each other in times of need.
Day 835: Wednesday, June 29, 2022
Our members aim to live out the Gospel mandate and support each other in times of need.
Dear Sisters and Brothers and Friends of Emmaus: This is the final Listening Session Report which Enid will deliver to the Vatican today (email of course). Enid and Denise have received a few comments and incorporated them into this final document. Enid also used the photos within her document to give the text a bit of color and context. Great work Denise and Enid!
I've also attached the report in WORD and PDF formats here for downloading:
Final Synod Listening Session Report
We, the members of Emmaus, 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. The music and art of the Catholic Church have enriched our lives and are part of our Catholic roots.
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, Emmaus 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. Dialogue 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.
The Emmaus 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. Most members are actively involved in individual activities to help others. 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.
Emmaus Intentional Eucharistic Committee