The decision to “walk together” is a prophetic sign for a human family that needs a shared project, capable of achieving the good of all; especially in a time where authoritarianism and repressive policies reign. In September 2021, our Archbishop the Most Reverend Socrates B. Villegas named a team of 18 people, where I am the only woman, to prepare this process. We are experiencing a really historical moment in the Catholic Church! It is the first time that a Pope is preparing a Synod like this.
The path now starts at the bottom and goes up, from the laity to the bishops rather than the other way around. The preparatory document reflects the Pope’s great desire to listen to everyone, not only Christians or those who are already actively working in the Church, but everyone; and he has asked us to go out and collect the impressions and listen to voices from different sectors. The following three actions are key to the process: listening, participation and discernment.
We have carried out all the meetings via zoom due to the pandemic; it has been a very big challenge. I am happy to share with you that the Holy Spirit has no borders and is making it possible. I have been in charge of presenting this process to the Religious and Consecrated Women of our Diocese and encouraging them to be a part of it. There has been a very good reception and they would like to participate.
We have also been explaining the preparations for the synod to the laity and youth of our chapels. One Sunday, after Mass, we invited those who wanted to, to stay and receive formation on the synod. A committed laywoman from a Parish in the centre, who is being trained with us, explained to everyone the spirit of the Synod and the practical ways that one can participate. Then everyone split into groups to answer the questionnaire. Young people responded from their perspective as young people and adults from theirs as adults.
The laity have fully participated in this process, collaborating with great enthusiasm both in making their own contribution and in listening to others. They have felt part of the universal Church and have been able to add their grain of sand to the path that we are building together as a church.