Since Pope Francis has recently issued his Papal Exhortation sharing his personal dreams for the world, we envision this as an invitation for the people to share our hopes and dreams for the future of our world. You are invited to take this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2XFGJ96. The objective is to listen to the voices of all people who identify with the principles of Christianity - love God and love your neighbor. It doesn't matter whether you are active or not, or even baptized or not. We want to hear your vision for the social, cultural, ecological, and spiritual realities touching you in the world. We anticipate the results of the survey will represent the people in all our diversity, across religious, cultural, and political perspectives. The outcome will be a compendium of the reflections of the people - what we will call a Peoples Exhortation - that reflects our relationships with one another, with the Divine, and with all creation.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pope Francis characterized the worldwide trauma as: "God's call on people to judge what is most important to them and resolve to act accordingly from now on." We invite you to consider whether this global experience has changed what is important to you and whether you intend to change anything about your life once we're eventually able to move beyond the restrictive lifestyle.
In February, Pope Francis released a document, Querida Amazoni, a papal exhortation following an extensive consultation with 87,000 participants from this region. He said the people "know better than myself, or the Roman Curia, the problems and issues of the Amazon region, since they live there, they experience its suffering and they love it passionately."
He shared his dream which included:
- a social dream, which stands for the rights of the poor and the oppressed against unjust corporate profiteering;
- a cultural dream, which preserves the region's distinctive cultural identity and unique richness in our multicultural universe;
- an ecological dream which seeks to "integrate questions of justice...so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor;"
- an ecclesial dream with Christian communities capable of listening to and learning from one another, thereby developing a church that reflects the uniqueness of that region of the world.
Just as Pope Francis understood the people of the Amazon would know what is best for their own region, so too would he see each of us knowing what is best for own region. Now is the time for us to issue a Peoples Exhortation encapsulating a rich and diverse tapestry of dreams. This document will reflect who we are and where we are geographically, culturally, and spiritually in this historic moment of chaos, challenge and transformation. Now is the time to renew our hope in the strengthening, enlivening Spirit among us. As Pope Francis has said: it is up to us to discern the best ways forward and assume our responsibility to create a new and just world for the good of all.
If the experience of this pandemic has resulted in a change in our hearts, how might we help build a "new normal" and resist the temptation to revert back to a church that is failing us in so many ways? Let us not - out of habit - fall back into putting money in the collection basket of a church that is not listening to the people; that is unable to treat women with equal respect to men; that is unwilling to welcome the LGBT community as respected members of our community.
Your donations and contributions of ideas are most appreciated