17 November 2021


The Katharine Konnection:

Respond to Pope Francis

Pope Francis opened a two-year long Synod in October with the theme: “Communion, Participation, and Mission.”  He wants Catholics all around the world to spend the next year praying, discussing, and discerning what the bishops should focus on in their meeting in Rome in October 2023.  Pope Francis is putting into practice our belief that the Holy Spirit is active in all the baptized—and asking each one of us to listen to that Holy Spirit and (from the bottom up) share what steps the Holy Spirit is inviting us to take as a church at this particular time in history.

In my entire life as a Catholic, I do not ever remember a Pope expressing an interest in what the Holy Spirit might be saying through you or through me… but this is what Pope Francis is doing.  He knows that the institutional church has been blind at different points in history, and that, in fact, like for all of us, there is always a certain blindness to the human enterprise that we cannot escape.  

True seeing is more than simply observing with our physical eyes. It implies creating relationship and a deeper knowing and understanding—and it is not without risk. If we really want to see, then we must be willing to change and be changed. We must be willing to leave behind what is, so that we can receive what might be.  Pope Francis is inviting all of us to take this process seriously in preparing for this Roman Synod two years from now in October 2023.  As he puts it, he wants all of us to journey together in a “synodal” way.

The Preparatory Document sent to all the bishops includes these words:  “The purpose of the Synod, and therefore of this consultation, is not to produce documents, but to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to be nourished, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another, and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, and give strength to our hands.”  “The Synodal process unfolds within a historical context, marked by epochal changes in society and by a crucial transition in the life of the Church, which cannot be ignored.  It is within the folds of the complexity of this context, in its tensions and contradictions, that we are called to scrutinize the signs of the times and interpret them in the light of the Gospel.

Between now and this spring, each bishop in the world is asked to consult with the people of his diocese.  These responses will then be assembled to be amalgamated with regional groups, and then onto the national level.  Eventually, the results make their way to Rome for a major Synod of bishops in October 2023.  

The consultation process is taking different forms in parishes, but I thought it would be helpful to allow each household and parishioner to spend some time prayerfully reflecting on the questions Pope Francis has posed– and to be able, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to thoughtfully articulate your responses in written form.  Please take some time between now and mid-December to view the video from Bishop Lewandowski and respond to the three questions that are available at this link. Pope Francis wants to hear from everyone, so please feel free to forward this opportunity to family members or friends who may have fallen away from active life in the church.

In the name of Pope Francis, thanks for caring enough about the future of the Church to share your thoughts.



Rev. Keith W. Boisvert





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