by Thomas Gallagher
““In the midst of conflict and division, we know it is you who turn our minds to thoughts of peace. Your Spirit changes our hearts.”
The wonder of 2022, for me, was the gathering with men and women to take time to listen. Pope Francis had called for a Synod unlike any in modern history. This Synod did not gather with an agenda, but sought the agenda from people around the world.
The world was reeling from the pandemic; nations were divided by increasing tensions; refugees were streaming from countries around the world, and war broke out in Ukraine. Pope Francis asked people to stop and listen to one another. An agenda was set that would be rooted in people’s life experience.
Here was an opportunity for hope, for communion, and for renewal. The gatherings were not for solutions or problem-solving. People responded to the opportunity to be seen and heard. The call to mission was to be undergirded by the reality of God’s presence in the lives of women and men.
In the document published, following the review of the thousands of responses from around the world, some “wounds” of the Church were noted. Healing these wounds may well be the initial mission coming from the Synod. These are significant for ongoing conversation and conversion among the People of God.
Noted were the:
- Divisions among the hierarchy.
- Divisions within the People of God.
- Abuse scandal.
- Recognition of the dignity and ministry of women in the Church.
- Recognition of the gifts of LGBTQ+ members.
The Synodal conversations continue. The current phase is one of prayer from the Scripture. https://www.synod.va/content/dam/synod/common/spirituality/Biblical-Resouces-for-Synodality-A4-EN.pdf We are invited to be rooted in the Word of God; to be led by the Spirit who continues to reveal the mystery of God within our current world and lives.
In a fragmented world, for many people, 2022 was a year of blessing and grace in the experience of being seen and heard.