In November and December 2021, the parishes and other communities within the Diocese of Tucson will hold special listening sessions as part of the global preparations for the 2023 Synod of Bishops: “For a Synodal Church: Communion + Participation + and Mission.” These listening sessions are an invaluable opportunity for everyone in the diocese to both share their experiences and to listen to the experiences of others.
Topics & Reflection Questions
This Synod poses the following fundamental question: A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, “journeys together.” How is this “journeying together” happening today in your local Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “journeying together”?
To help everyone to prepare to take part in a listening session or to take the online survey (available on December 1, 2021), the Synod Committee is happy to share with you these five (5) areas of consideration and some reflection questions. The listening sessions will be built around these important themes, which are taken from the special instructions provided by the Holy See.
1. Companions on the Journey
In the Church and in society, we are side by side on the same road.
In our local Church, who are those who “walk together”? Who are those who seem further apart? How are we called to grow as companions? What groups or individuals are left on the margins?
Listening is the first step, but it requires an open mind and heart, without prejudice.
How is God speaking to us through voices we sometimes ignore, especially people who experience poverty, marginalization, or social exclusion? How are the laity listened to, especially women and young people? What facilitates or inhibits our listening? How well do we listen to those on the peripheries?
“Walking together” is only possible if it is based on communal listening to the Word and the celebration of the Eucharist.
How do prayer and liturgical celebrations actually inspire and guide our common life and mission in our community? How do they inspire the most important decisions? How do we promote the active participation of all the faithful in the liturgy?
4. Dialogue in Church and Society
Dialogue requires perseverance and patience, but it also enables mutual understanding.
To what extent do diverse peoples in our community come together for dialogue? What are the places and means of dialogue within our local Church? How are divergences of vision, or conflicts and difficulties addressed? What particular issues in the Church and society do we need to pay more attention to? How does the Church dialogue with and learn from other sectors of society: the spheres of politics, economics, culture, civil society, and people who live in poverty?
5. Discerning and Deciding
In a synodal style, we make decisions through discernment of what the Holy Spirit is saying through our whole community.
What methods and processes do we use in decision-making? How can they be improved? How do we promote participation in decision-making within hierarchical structures? Do our decision-making methods help us to listen to the whole People of God? What is the relationship between consultation and decision-making, and how do we put these into practice? What tools and procedures do we use to promote transparency and accountability? How can we grow in communal spiritual discernment?