Throughout the year, we present an article in the bulletin each week on a variety of topics, written by a member of our Parish staff on a rotating basis.
Growing In Faith
by Ruth Pera
I’ve heard about Pope Francis discussing women in the Church and LGBTQ+ issues in the news this month, what is that about?
Beginning October 4th in Rome, Pope Francis, bishops, priests, religious brothers and sisters, and lay people from around the world began gathering for in-person meetings as part of the global Synod on Synodality. This synod officially began in 2021 and will conclude in 2024, but these meetings are an important step in gathering feedback and conversation from around the world. The headlines you’re reading come from some of the planned synod discussions.
The synod, its priorities, and the discussions being had there are interesting, but not something I can discuss well within the space I have here. If you are interested in learning more, I highly encourage you to check out a few of the resources I’ve listed below. Many of them are truly accessible to average Catholics who are not versed in (or interested in) the high-level language of Church law and teaching. If you need a hook to get you interested, I’ll offer this: everyone is sitting at small round tables, including the Pope. The schedule is centered on small-group discussions guided by expert theological facilitators based on a series of worksheets compiled by people from around the world. And this time, lay people can be voting members, not simply observers.
Pope Francis has dedicated significant care and concern to shape this synod into one that is about the journey of discernment rather than the destination of decision-making. He has emphasized, again and again, his desire for participants to come ready to listen to the whispers and movement of the Holy Spirit, for the experiences of all the baptized to be taken seriously and placed at the center of conversation, and for our Church to move forward in hope rather than fear of modern society.
In general, I find that our parishioners are super proud to be members of St. Margaret of Scotland parish. During this month, I also want to encourage us to remember that we are also members of the global Church, and to pray for all those attending the meetings this month, that we might become a loving, listening, open Church. As Pope Francis said in his homily at the opening Mass for these gatherings: “A Church…which repeats to everyone: “Come, you who are weary and oppressed, come, you who have lost your way or feel far away, come, you who have closed the doors to hope: the church is here for you! Tutti, tutti, tutti! (Everyone, everyone, everyone!)”
If you want to learn more or follow along with reports from these meetings, I recommend:
- The Vatican’s page on the Synod (which includes a copy of the discussion worksheets and processes being followed for each set of conversations)
- National Catholic Reporter’s Series on the Synod for Synodality along with their new weekly podcast “The Vatican Briefing” which is currently covering the Synod
- National Catholic Register’s “What You Need to Know about the Synod on Synodality” (and other synod coverage)