Summary of Synod proceedings in the dioceses

Archdiocese of Gniezno

Diocesan synthesis


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Rev. Pole on synod: hunger for dialogue

“Synodal consultations in parishes and communities showed a paucity or even hunger for dialogue. In the syntheses sent to us, one can clearly see the cry for more such meetings,” says Fr. prof. Mieczyslaw Polak, coordinator of the synodal process in the Gniezno archdiocese.

The recently completed diocesan phase of the synod on synodality included synodal consultations at parish and community levels in the Gniezno archdiocese. They were held from December last year to May this year in a total of 320 groups – in parishes and deaneries, apostolic movements and associations, religious and interdenominational communities, the seminary, the Theological and Pastoral College, a home for senior priests, a single mother’s home, among the poor and homeless. Catechists and catechists, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and young people also had their meetings.

“In the Gniezno archdiocese, there was no compulsion to hold meetings. Everything was done on a voluntary basis, and I can say that I did not encounter any resistance or opposition. On the contrary. The idea of a synod was favorably received and in some places provided the impetus for a return to the practice of meetings after a time of pandemic isolation.” – says Fr. Mieczyslaw Polak.

The total number of participants in the meetings is estimated at 3,500 in the Gniezno archdiocese. An anonymous synodal survey was also available on the diocesan website, and 478 people filled it out, of which just over 45 percent were women and nearly 55 percent were men. The questionnaire did not have to specify the place of residence, so some of the answers may come from people outside the Gniezno archdiocese, and this can be seen in many cases, because the problems addressed concerned metropolitan environments, and there are none in the Gniezno archdiocese.

“In the survey, the spectrum of issues addressed was somewhat broader than in the stationary meetings. There was, for example, a topic that came up minimally at parish meetings, namely the Church’s attitude toward LGBT people. In general, in the surveys the emphasis was on the Church’s dialogue with the world, and in the stationary meetings on the diagnosis of the state of the parish, what is happening in the community, clergy-laity relations,” explains Fr. Pole.

What picture emerges from these meetings?

“Above all, you can see that the laity really cares about the future of the Church, that they care, that they are well aware of the importance of the problems and are not indifferent to them,” the priest admits.

“The synodal meetings showed the great need for testimonies of faith, the desire to make the value of the Gospel even more visible, to make the center of the Church’s life truly the Eucharist and the Word of God. They pointed out the need for good preparation of the liturgy, more frequent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and organizing meetings with witnesses of the faith,” Fr. Polak, adding that there was also quite a long list of shadows, among which significant voices included. priest-secular relations.

“On the one hand, the need to share responsibility for the community was pointed out, so that the priest would want to listen and take into account the opinion of parishioners. On the other hand, however, there were expectations that he should be the leader, that he should be the one to decide and, colloquially speaking, distribute tasks.”

“In this area, it was pointed out quite clearly that teaching should be in line with life, that is, that the clergy’s lifestyle should be adequate to what they preach from the pulpit. The syntheses also show that it is unacceptable to mix faith and politics. The faithful are outraged by political comments in homilies, but also when clergy criticize Pope Francis in front of the laity. What is saddening is the lack of knowledge of the lives of parishioners, the clipping of the wings of those who want to do something, schematicity in pastoral activities, little transparency in the Church’s finances.”

“Attention was also drawn to the need to change, or rather adapt, the language, because the one used by the Church is often incomprehensible. This clearly resonated with the synod polls, to change the language of both homilies and the bishops’ pastoral letters so that there is more sharing of faith and less theory,” explains Fr. Pole.

The coordinator of the synodal process in the Gniezno archdiocese also admits that the faithful are troubled by the subjective treatment of the sacraments, by the fact that many use them because “it’s necessary, because it falls out, because it’s nice,” that the family is no longer a school of faith, that children and young people are not seen in church, and that fewer and fewer parishioners are involved in parish life.

“Among the reasons cited by meeting participants were. the Church’s loss of authority due to scandals, the havoc wreaked on spiritual life by the pandemic and the media image of the Church. The surveys also show that the faithful believe that the Church is well organized in structures, but they are not fully utilized,” admits Fr. Pole.

Asked about the chance for change and the actual synodal lifestyle of parishes and communities, the priest makes no secret of the fact that “a lot depends on ourselves, on the laity, but especially on the clergy, whether they will understand and carry out their ministry in a more communal way.”


SYNOD: we must have the courage to talk to each other

“Synodality is first and foremost a specific style of life and mission of the Church, that is, our life and our mission. This is an expression of our responsibility to the Church, but above all a call to build good and right relations among us. To do so, we must have the courage to talk to each other,” Archbishop Wojciech Polak said at the end of the diocesan stage of the synod in the Gniezno archdiocese.

Mass. with the participation of representatives of all the deaneries of the Gniezno archdiocese was celebrated on Trinity Sunday, June 12, at Gniezno Cathedral under the presidency of the Primate of Poland Archbishop Abp. Wojciech Polak. In his homily, the Metropolitan of Gniezno expressed the hope that the synodal meetings held in parishes and communities had “inspired hope” and allowed us to experience “following a common path.”

“We thank God in the Holy Trinity for this time.”

“Thank you for trusting this path and making the effort to meet. I trust and hope so deeply that this time was, above all, a good experience of caring for the Church together; it was a search for the good and listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us, encouraging and leading us; it was a search for new solutions and the courage to face what is difficult. The most important thing is that we had the willingness and courage to talk about it, that we had the willingness to speak openly and without fear, that we also had the patience to listen to each other, and perhaps we have already somehow experienced precisely that, among other things, this is what our common path is all about, and that it is worth continuing on it in this way.” – emphasized the Primate.

At the same time, he noted that during the synodal consultations – in addition to what is beautiful and creative – also boldly named what “is a threat, what hurts and brings sorrow, what sows doubt and causes flight or departure from the Church.”

“All of this becomes an invitation to purification and to undertake conversion,” the Primate said, adding that what is needed today is a change of mentality, not only to notice and talk about what needs to be done to make our testimony convincing, but to patiently seek ways of renewal and, supporting each other, to undertake new solutions.

“The Church is not some museum where you can see figures of saints who lived over two thousand years, but the living and true Body of Christ,” he reminded.

“Yes, we need each other. We are not going alone, after all. We go together. We are a community. Yes, we are not – as Pope Francis repeatedly points out to us – all the same, and we don’t have to be all the same, because that’s the beauty of the Church, that everyone brings something of their own – what God has given them – to enrich others. So the synodal process that we have begun could not only convince us of this, but also give us the experience of following a common path,” Archbishop Polak said.

The Primate also encouraged and asked that “the experience of the synod and synodal meetings become a lifestyle of parishes and communities, so that it renews the entire archdiocese.”

“Let’s transfer the synodal experience to the space of action of pastoral and economic councils. Let’s discover that this really makes sense and not only brings us closer to each other, but allows us to create new spaces of goodness and bring hope to all that is withering, withering or dying today,” the Metropolitan of Gniezno said in conclusion.

After the conclusion of the Mass. A meeting to summarize the diocesan stage of the synod was held at the Gniezno Educational and Formation Center, during which a diocesan synthesis was presented, which will be forwarded to the Polish Episcopal Conference. The document was presented and discussed by Rev. Ph. Mieczyslaw Polak, coordinator of the synod in the Gniezno archdiocese, Dr. Teresa Kowalczyk, chairwoman of the Catechetical Department, Sr. Mirona Turzynska from the synod secretariat and Fr. Michal Bubacz, diocesan youth chaplain.

The diocesan stage of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops began in dioceses (including the Archdiocese of Gniezno) on October 17, 2021. Over the following months, synodal consultations were held in parishes, communities, and pastoral groups, which, along with the results of an anonymous synodal survey available online, were used to develop the aforementioned diocesan synthesis of the synod. It will soon be published on the website of the Archdiocese of Gniezno.


Summaries of the synodal process in other dioceses

Diecezja Świdnicka

Kluczowym założeniem dla diecezji było włączenie w synod jak największej liczby osób, pracujących w małych grupach. Miało to na celu urzeczywistnienie prawdziwego dialogu i zaangażowanie w prace synodu osób, które – mimo, że są w Kościele – w praktyce nigdy nie były dopuszczone do głosu. Ponadto fundamentalnym celem było objęcie zasięgiem synodu każdej wspólnoty parafialnej („by Synod dotarł pod strzechy”). Podstawowa metoda pracy wypracowana przez zespół synodalny, ściśle współpracujący z Biskupem diecezjalnym, to spotkania w małych grupach (max. 12 osób) prowadzonych przez koordynatorów (jedna lub dwie osoby). Każda z utworzonych grup została zaproszona do udziału w czterech spotkaniach, w odstępie około miesięcznym, w okresie od grudnia 2021 do kwietnia 2022. Każda grupa poproszona została o przygotowanie notatki (według ustalonego schematu – por. zał. nr 1) z każdego spotkania i przekazanie jej za pośrednictwem poczty elektronicznej zespołowi synodalnemu.

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Diecezja Kielecka

Synteza Kościoła Kieleckiego jest efektem dziewięciu miesięcy konsultacji w grupach synodalnych na szczeblu parafialnym i diecezjalnym. Synteza zdefiniowała postulaty, jakie powstawały w czasie prac w zespołach synodalnych na poziomie parafii i różnych wspólnot działających na terenie diecezji kieleckiej. Realizacja tychże postulatów powinna wpłynąć na poprawę relacji wewnątrzkościelnych, wzmocnić tożsamość i odpowiedzialność wszystkich tworzących wspólnotę wiary diecezji kieleckiej.

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Archidiecezja Katowicka

Wspólnie wyruszyliśmy w drogę, aby wzajemnie się “spotkać, słuchać i rozeznawać”. Kosciół Boży został zwołany na Synod. Również Kościół w archidiecezji katowickiej przyjął zaproszenie do odpowiedzi na pytania dotyczące jego życia i misji. Celem nadrzędnym Synodu było doswiadczenie spotkania, które daje przestrzeń na wymianę doświadczeń i refleksji o Kosciele. Podążanie razem drogą synodalną ukazuje naturę Kościoła jako wspólnoty pielgrzymującej.

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