For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission

02-13-2022Letter from the PastorFr. Don Kline, V.F.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Peace and Joy in Our Lord Jesus!

Our Holy Father Pope Francis has invited all the members of Catholic Church to embark on a journey of discovery together with him. Through listening and prayerful thought rooted in the Holy Spirit, the entire People of God are being called to look to the future and contribute to a process by which the Church hopes to deepen the understanding of Her sacred mission given by Christ Himself: that of making disciples of all nations.

The process by which the Church will begin this important work is called a Synod. “Synod” is an ancient word in the Tradition of the Church whose meaning indicates the path along which the People of God walk together. A Synod usually involves the convening of our Bishops in order to pray together and to discuss a particular topic important to the Church and then to advise the Pope on the conclusions that they have reached.

For this upcoming Synod, our Holy Father is calling on all Catholics to pray with him and then to reflect upon the topic together. Through our listening and our sharing, we will seek to understand what the Holy Spirit’s will is for the Church in the topic being discussed. For the 2023 Ordinary Synod of Bishops, that topic is “synodality”, which is discerning how the Holy Spirit is moving through and with the Body of Christ, so that we may continue to fulfill our mission to evangelize in the world.

The aim of the Synod is to discern how we are “living the faith” and how, we as a Church, are achieving this together. The synodal process includes Listening, Discernment, and Participation. It is important to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church, to discern His will for the current Church in the world, and then to participate by answering the following questions: “How does our ‘journeying together’ allow the Church to proclaim the Gospel and what steps is the Holy Spirit inviting us to take in order to grow as a Church?” The synodal process will conclude in 2023.

We at St. Bernadette will have the opportunity to respond to these questions, to recall our own experiences, and then to gather these experiences together in order to share them with the diocese and ultimately with the whole Church. The Synod is intended to inspire all people to dream about the Church we are called to be and to renew our common mission given at our Baptism of evangelizing the world for Jesus.

It is hoped that this will foster greater participation in the life of the Church, will build communion with one another through journeying and walking this path of faith together, and will create a solid foundation where committing to mission and fulfilling mission is encouraged and possible for all of us. More information will be forthcoming on how to participate in the synodal process. In the meantime, everyone is encouraged to visit the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on “The Synod on Synodality” at