AMERICA/DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – The synodal path is not just “walking together”, but with Jesus, in Jesus, from Jesus and toward Jesus

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AMERICA/DOMINICAN RESPULIC – The synodal pathway is more than “walking together”, it is walking with Jesus, in Jesus and towards Jesus.

Santo Domingo, Agenzia Fides – We live in a world characterized in individualism, indifference, and the search to personal fulfillment without considering others. Walking together makes it easier to see that we can only achieve human happiness and good when we share the same tasks. The Second Vatican Council reminds us of the need for the Church to listen to people’s cries and to support their dreams.
The Dominican Bishops’ Conference (DBC), dedicates an annual pastoral letter to “Synodality. The path of ecclesial identification”. It points out that individualism is the root of many of our social ills. Wealth leads to the disproportionate use of natural resources and the destruction the environment.
The document was published, as usual, on the solemnity Of Our Lady of Altagracia the Patron Mother to the Dominican people. It bears the date January 21, 2023. The bishops explained that they were inspired by the common sentiment of universal Church, which Pope Francis called the Synod on Synodality, a time of deep reflection on the new challenges of the modern world and how Church can respond, guided by the strength and action of Holy Spirit.
The bishops explain synodality in their extensive document. It is about creating and dynamizing new spaces that encourage the encounter of communion, participation, and fellowship among all the brothers and sisters of the Church, groups and communities. They also highlight the relationship between synodality, the Bible, and explain that “listening, mission, and proclamation” is the key to synodality. “Synodality demands that all members of God’s people are able to empower themselves, and participate in the ecclesial pathway of communion and participation by all in the mission.” Synodality also “expresses the pilgrim nature of the Church”, which takes on “the challenges of every person and of every age” to give reason to her hope in the midst all human realities.
The Bishops addressed “Synodal Spirituality”. They stated that “if this synodal path is not fully considered the spiritual dimension of synodality”, it can be reduced “to an ecclesial convention”, “a conference of study”, “a political congress” or “a parliament”. Synodal Spirituality requires a profound mental change at a personal and community level. It is a deep transformation process that makes us leave the past to meet others and walk alongside them. “This Christian synodal journey is not just about walking together or in any way. It is a very special walk, with Jesus Christ, through Jesus and in Jesus, towards Jesus.
The Bishops encourage synodality in celebration of the sacraments as well as the liturgy. They also urge pastoral conversion to be a synodal Catholic, which, as such is a sign that fraternity among nations marred by divisions or conflicts of interests. The cry of the people demands a solution to so many evils, some of them historical, such as corruption, extreme poverty, unemployment, lack of opportunities, deficiencies in health, education, services, to which is added common crime, without forget the spiritual poverty “that dwells in the heart of modern man pushed away from God”.
There are many places where you can live synodality. First, the family, which is “a privileged place to learn to walk together”, then the parish with its various articulations, structures, and “which must be organized” to “reach the realization of a Synodal Church”. The particular Church, guided by the Bishop; the apostolic movement and new communities, “called” to collaborate for the growth and development of the particular Church, united and animated with the Bishop; lay institutions, who “put their charisms in service to others and practicing unity and practicing unity in diversity; and consectedal and synodal and ministerial Church”.
The National Pastoral Plan is a tool of the “outgoing Church”, which seeks to respond to the challenge evangelization. It brings together different pastoral agents around common goals, “giving life and hope to a Church that lives and seeks participation and communion”.
The document concludes with a call to “grow the synodal spirit”. It also suggests concrete steps to be taken: Encourage more use of the media, strengthen the formation and leadership of pastoral areas, cultivate fraternity, work in teams, identify gifts and talents within the communities. Encourage more prayer in our faithful; encourage service to vulnerable groups in our communities and strengthen the presence of pastors among the people of God. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 24/1/2023)



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