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How do we prepare for a synodal process? Start with the documents of Vatican II

[Written by Michael Sean Winters - Published by the NCR Online - October 1, 2021]

Nine days from now, Pope Francis will officially open a synodal process. As my colleague Brian Fraga reported on Wednesday, you wouldn't know much about it if you relied on the U.S. bishops' conference. They have sent no directives to the nation's bishops, no historical or theological reflections, no guidance, nada, niente. They have not amended their strategic priorities to reflect the start of this synodal process. And their last meeting was dedicated to figuring out how to justify a document on eucharistic coherence that no one needs and that Rome has indicated it does not want.

CCRI Synod Registration Form

Pope Francis has initiated a 3-step process over the next two years with the first step opening avenues for all the people to come together and make our voices heard. We are especially encouraged to learn that he wants to have the widest participation possible: “Special care should be taken to involve those persons who may risk being excluded: women, the handicapped, refugees, migrants, the youth and the elderly, people who live in poverty, Catholics who rarely or never practice their faith…. people of other faith traditions and people of no religious belief.”

With this understanding, we invite you, wherever you are in this spectrum, to join our online gatherings to open our hearts and listen to one another. We invite personal stories and real-life experiences when you needed support and could have benefitted from the compassionate support of a church community. Let us begin to imagine together the kind of Church we’d like to create.

Please let us know if you would be interested in participating in CCRI online synodal gatherings (Times and dates to be determined)

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Why people are insisting that their voices be heard at the Synod

Next month, each diocese will be receiving a questionnaire from the Office of the Synod of Bishops inviting the people to voice their opinions and concerns about the future of the institutional Church. From October 2021 through April 2022, Pope Francis has called upon every diocese throughout the world for bishops and the people to engage in dialogue. The pope wants to hear from all the people - not only those who are engaged in regular Mass attendance but even those who've walked away from the institutional Church valuing their personal faith over so called "Church laws" and prescripts.

 Read why so many others are signing the petition:

You may appreciate reading just a few of the comments from the hundreds of responses from the People of God explaining why so many are signing this petition to bishops and are contacting their bishops to ensure that there will be a synod held in their region of the world:

 "I'm signing because I can no longer accept the Catholic Church as it has evolved. I now pray to Christ who began our Faith but did not include the manner in which it has evolved. I have learned that the Church that we know began to evolve at least 1,000 years later and was totally delivered by men who did not marry and did not include women." Dublin, Ireland

 "The Church has strayed and needs to get back on mission and reflect its true role. We also owe it to those who have left and are leaving the Church in droves, particularly young people, and again become relevant to the times we live in, the needs we have, and the new understandings we have gained." John, Melbourne, Australia

 "I believe all that is written in this petition from the depths of my being! We have lost so much that Vatican II enabled - and we desperately need to get it back before this patriarchal hierarchy smothers us all. We need to pray for those who stand in the way of Pope Francis’ efforts to bring us back much more closely to what Jesus had envisioned!" Mary, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

 "I am deeply committed to the Catholic Church because this is how I came to know God. Most of my heroes have been and are here. I love the Mass and Sacraments, but I think that we have to move beyond the present clericalism and learn to better hear Jesus and live the Gospels." Kathryn, Raleigh, N. Carolina

 “I am signing because I believe in an evolutionary Church; that Jesus expects and guides us to change in order to grow. I believe our young people are underscoring this understanding.”

Harry, St Paul, Minnesota, USA

 Sign the petition to Bishops in your own language

Sign this petition in your own language

 

Firme esta petición en su propio idioma

 

Unterschreibe diese Petition in deiner eigenen Sprache

 

Signez cette pétition dans votre langue

 

Assine esta petição em seu próprio idioma

 

귀하의 언어로 이 청원서에 서명하십시오

 

あなたの母国語でこの請願書に署名してください

 

Saini ombi hili kwa lugha yako mwenyewe

 

To ensure that there will be a synod in your region of the world, send a letter to your bishop, pastor, or priest also in your own language.

Pope Francis has called for a diocesan synod to be held in every diocese throughout the world beginning this coming October. This first step is scheduled to conclude by April 2022. Without encouragement from the People, some bishops will choose not to hold this synod in their diocese.

 

Below you will find a model letter in your own language that you are encouraged to use to help you formulate your own letter to your bishop, pastor, or priest. The purpose is to let the clergy know how important it is for the People of God to be included and listened to in these forthcoming diocesan synods.

 

model letter in English

 

model letter in Spanish

 

model letter in German

 

model letter in French

 

model letter in Portuguese

 

model letter in Korean

 

model letter in Japanese

 

model letter in Swahili / Kiswahili

 

Let's take advantage of the narrow window of opportunity Pope Francis has given us

For years, many of us have been working and praying for the reform of our Church. For the first time, there appears to be a real opportunity to bring about needed changes. Pope Francis has opened the door as wide as he possibly can inviting the people to speak out while all but forcing the bishops to listen to their people. Francis has given us a window of opportunity - but it is a narrow one. He has called for diocesan synods to be held in every diocese throughout the world from October 2021 to April 2022. Once that window closes, the chance for the people to have any influence will be over as the synodal process moves into phase two and three.

Join with people from around the world by signing this petition in your own language to ensure that we, the people, will be included in this all important synodal process. For the Spirit to be heard at these diocesan synods, the voices of the people must be well represented. Once you have signed it, please post it on your social media accounts and pass it on to all your circle of contacts. Ask your contacts to do the same.

One additional step you are encouraged to take: Use the model letter (shown below in your own language) to write to your own bishops and pastors letting them know how important it will be for them to include a good cross section of the lay people of God in your diocesan synod. Sign the petition now and pass it on to everyone you know, even those who've left the Church out of disappointment or frustration.

Sign the petition to Bishops in your own language

Sign this petition in your own language

Firme esta petición en su propio idioma

Unterschreibe diese Petition in deiner eigenen Sprache

Signez cette pétition dans votre langue

Assine esta petição em seu próprio idioma

귀하의 언어로 이 청원서에 서명하십시오

あなたの母国語でこの請願書に署名してください

Saini ombi hili kwa lugha yako mwenyewe

Send a letter to your own bishop, pastor, or priest in your own language

Pope Francis has called for a diocesan synod to be held in every diocese throughout the world beginning this coming October. This first step is scheduled to conclude by April 2022. Without encouragement from the People, some bishops will choose not to hold this synod in their diocese.

Below you will find a model letter in your own language that you are encouraged to use to help you formulate your own letter to your bishop, pastor, or priest. The purpose is to let the clergy know how important it is for the People of God to be included and listened to in these forthcoming diocesan synods.

model letter in English

model letter in Spanish

model letter in German

model letter in French

model letter in Portuguese

model letter in Korean

model letter in Japanese

model letter in Swahili / Kiswahili