By Lisa Shay, Associate
On March 8, 34 Sisters, Associates, and Companions of Charity gathered via Zoom to explore the “fundamental questions” of Synod 2021 – 2023, “For a synodal Church – communion, participation, mission.” We began with a gathering hymn, Sing A New Church, and then Associate Bill Hurley led us in the prayer Adsumus Sancte Spiritus in English, followed by Associate Eva Carrillo leading us in Spanish.
Sister Claire Regan introduced the questions posed by the Synod: A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, “journeys together:” How is this “journeying together” happening today in your particular Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take to grow in our “journeying together”? We divided into four breakout groups and then came together to share our thoughts.
Some of the issues raised in the lively discussions concerned the following – How can the Church adapt to these modern times? Many feel that the institutional Church is still rather static, despite Vatican II. Many local parishes are not seeking out young people or reaching out to non-parishioners as this consultation process unfolds. Can the Congregation reach out to CMSV students?
Associates and Sisters deeply value the community bonds we have formed! We depend on each other for thoughtful, spiritual conversations. We realize we are a gift to each other. How could this sense of community be fostered at the parish level, especially when so many parishes have been merged or closed? Eucharist is central to our faith, but fewer and fewer people attend liturgy regularly and when parishes are merged, the “newcomers” may not feel welcome and drift away.
The pandemic, which caused many church buildings to close for months in the US and longer in Guatemala has revealed the importance of small communities and the domestic church. People bonded and supported each other. Those who had little shared what they had with those who had even less. What can the Church learn from that experience?
The divisions we experience in the U.S. between different factions within the Church are not present in Guatemala. They strive for fellowship in peace amid the diversity of 22 different indigenous languages. Church can serve a unifying role. The Associates in Guatemala feel drawn to live out their faith in their workplaces. Their work becomes their ministry.Thanks to all who helped organize and facilitate this One Community dialog! Look for the next one in May.