Last Sunday Mrs. Mary Lynch, our Principal gave a pulpit invitation to us to join the special Mass this Sunday as we celebrate the Catholic School Week nationally. She spoke beautifully about St. Matthias School that is an integral part of our parish. The success of St. Matthias School impacts St. Matthias parish. I am truly grateful to all of our parishioners, all of the school parents, faculty, staff, all other supporters and well-wishers for helping our school become truly a sanctuary of “Faith, Caring and Excellence” – as the school motto reminds us.
I’m sure you are aware of the “synod on synodality,” a worldwide gathering of bishops and other leaders called by Pope Francis. Synodality literally means walking together. Pope Francis invited the Catholic Church to embark on a journey of listening and discernment to develop a deeper understanding of its mission and look toward the future. This Synod, entitled “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission”, began in October 2021 and will conclude October 2023. Even though the Church is structured in a vertical hierarchical way, Francis said this synod is meant to “listen to the questions, concerns and hopes of every church, people and nation.”
The word ‘synodal’ refers to the involvement and participation of all the People of God in the life and mission of the Church. The goal of this journeying together is not to create a new pastoral plan with objectives. Rather, the goal is to be present with one another, to listen and learn with each other, and to grow closer to the Lord and His Church. Pope Francis has said: “Let us ask: in the church, are we good at listening? How good is the hearing of the heart? Do we allow people to express themselves, to walk in faith even though they have had difficulties in life, and to be part of the life of the community without being hindered, rejected or judged?”
Some fear that it will change the structure of the church and make it more democratic like some of the Protestant churches. That is an unfounded fear. The hope is that now on, everyone will have a voice to tell his or her own personal story as well as bring ideas and suggestions for the common good, and the bishops in their dioceses and pastors in their parishes will listen to these and will make the final decisions on these. Thus, we become more of a listening church.
A key part of the Synod are “listening sessions” to be held in all Catholic communities throughout the world. Our diocesan sessions in deaneries were originally scheduled for late January but have been postponed. But the Diocese will be having a “Virtual Synod Facilitator Training” on Thursday, February 3, 2022, from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Everyone is welcome to join that by registering at: https://www.diometuchen.org/facilitator-training
In addition to these diocesan deanery sessions, I am proposing to have our own parish listening session here at St. Matthias, probably sometime in early
March. Keep an eye out in coming weeks for the exact date. But if many of you can attend the Facilitator training on February 3, it will be helpful for our
own parish listening session. Have a look at the Synod Preparation materials and other important resources on the diocesan website at: https://www.diometuchen.org/synod2023
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal