Pope Francis has presented us with an extraordinary opportunity to speak out about the kind of Church we’d like to see today. It is our belief that his invitation to us to gather in small groups and share our stories offers far more hope for Church reform than even Vatican II back in the 60s. Pope Francis wants to hear from practicing Catholics, of course. But even more, he wants to hear from those who’ve walked away from the institutional Church, from other denominations, from men and women young and old. He wants to hear stories of how people have been hurt and what drove some away along with suggestions for how the situation(s) could have been better handled by the Church. We encourage you to join a synod offered by your bishop, pastor, or Small Christian Community. If none are being offered in your community, then consider starting your own.
How to begin your own synodal gathering
- Invite a group of friends or members of your parish in your local community. It can be a small group, ideally no larger than 10 or 12 people.
- You are encouraged to invite a broad spectrum of participants – active members in the Church, people who have dropped out, members of other religious affiliations.
- If your group is larger than 10-12 persons, you might want to break into subgroups.
- By way of preparation prior to or early on in your gatherings, provide members with a link to the Root and Branch Synod and the Bristol Text.
- Invite your members to watch any of the videos from the R&B Synod that interest them.
- Make a strong recommendation to watch Mary McAleese’s keynote address.
- Gather your group together either in person or online via Zoom and begin with a prayer. allowing time for silent reflection.
- Ask someone to be the scribe to summarize in writing the s and stories shared and the solutions.
- After introductions, you might consider inviting everyone to share one facet of Catholicism so meaningful to them that they would want to preserve that, no matter what. Next, ask if they have ever been hurt in their life in the Church. Allow time for silent reflection before responding.
- As your gatherings continue, welcome anyone who wishes to share his/her own personal real-life experience of life in the Church; listen to everyone with equal attentiveness.
- Invite members to share their views of these experiences and, if not dealt with as Jesus would have done, offer solutions to how the situation could have been better handled.
- Set up a regular meeting schedule between now and August 2022.
- Before August 2022, send a compilation of your responses and comments to:
- the Synod Office: email@example.com
- and cc it to Sr Nathalie Becquart: firstname.lastname@example.org; she is the onlynon-clergy voting member on the Synod Office Leadership team.
- Feel free to continue your gatherings on into the future. There is no need to stop at this point.
We invite you to join a CCRI online gathering
If you are unable to join or start a synod in your own region, we are now offering a new set of online initial gatherings. In light of the importance of these, we at CCRI are offering multiple online gatherings to accommodate the various time zones globally. Please check out our choice of new times to hold an initial gathering and register for the one that best fits your schedule. In addition to this initial gathering, there will be other follow-up online sessions over the coming months. Share this information with your contacts especially if they have been hurt or disillusioned by the Church and if they have no place else to go. Invite them to join with us by registering for the gathering of their choosing.
Pope Francis is serious about wanting to hear our stories and share our lived experiences growing up in the Church. If you are unable to attend any of our gatherings and have none other that you can attend in your own region, then you are invited to send your personal story along with your solution of how your situation could have been better handled to the head of the Synod office: email@example.com and cc Sr. Nathalie Becquart: firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, it is in sharing your stories that reform will come about.
Feel free to pass this information onto to your contacts both in and out of the Church and invite them to join us and/or share their stories with the Synod office.
Join with us and be part of reforming our Church
YOUR GIFT – IN ANY AMOUNT – IS PRICELESS
When you make a donation to support our cause, you join with others who are investing in restoring our Church to what Jesus intended. If you are part of the movement to stop contributing to your local parish and/or diocese, you may consider a donation to CCRI in its stead. The dollars we receive are used to run our programs and to reach a broad spectrum of the People of God. We are focused on reaching out to the Faithful, reform activists, young adults as well as those who feel abandoned by the Church, to mention just a few. Your personal contributions in offering your suggestions and your donations are most appreciated.