I hope that fruitful dialogue is continuing in your parishes and dioceses as all segments of the Church participate in the synodal process. “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” the theme of the synod, is our guide to this two-year process of journeying together as we listen to and hear one another. May we open our ears, as the preparatory document directs, to the voices of the poor and the excluded as well as those with roles and responsibilities in parishes and dioceses.
Nearly two years after COVID-19 began to affect every part of our lives, parishes continue to seek ways to encourage the Body of Christ in their worship and connection to each other. In “Evangelizing during COVID-19: Affirm, Listen, Welcome Parishioners,” Mary Patricia Storms writes of the effect of reaching out to people through joyful evangelization. “The ways we interact with other human beings makes a bold statement about who we are as followers of Christ,” she states.
People come to faith through God’s call and the support of others. As the collect is prayed on the Sunday of the third scrutiny, the assembly is reminded of their role to help others to a deeper union with God. In “God’s Invitation Draws Community to Faith,” Elizabeth Simcoe writes that the collect brings the elect and the community to contemplate God’s grace.
A meditation on the Confiteor provides insight into the corporate nature of both sin and reconciliation, writes Fr. Timothy Piasecki in “Preparing Candidates for the Sacrament of Penance.” The author writes of the importance of helping candidates for reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church understand the sacrament so that they will be eager to encounter God’s mercy there.
The absence of the faithful when parishes closed during 2020 acutely highlighted how essential the people of God are to the liturgy, Kathy Kuczka writes in “The Liturgy Awaits the Faithful.” “When we gather,” she notes, “we seek strength from each other and from God.” May this bulletin insert reach people who need to know how valued their presence is in the liturgy.
Anyone who has worshiped with young children knows that they can distract others from their prayer. Still the children belong at Mass with the other disciples, Kathryn Ball-Boruff writes in “Liturgy Beckons the Children.” She notes, “We are invited to the life of discipleship, not at a time in the abstract future, but right here and now.”
As we move along our journey in the synodal process, may we open our hearts to this time of renewal under the action of the Spirit and by listening to Scripture. Let us trust that the Spirit is leading us to live out God’s call at the service of the kingdom. In the words of the Prayer of the Synod (Adsumus Sancte Spiritus), may we stand before the Holy Spirit and pray, “Let us find in You our unity so that we may journey together to eternal life and not stray from the way of truth and what is right.”
Bishop Joseph N. Perry
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
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