For the sake of a Church that is gentle, patient and knows how to listen – Catholic Marriage Encounter Association

The synodal journey (synodal journey) has been going on in Marriage Encounters for more than 40 years, i.e., since the founding of the Association. Verifying the good direction of this journey are the words of Jesus: “By their fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 7:20). We look at the fruits of our labor, the methods we use. We modify them as needed. We thank the Lord God for the thousands of testimonies of married couples and fiancées who have recognized dialogue as the way of love. It is their testimonies, especially the testimonies of marriages in crisis, the testimonies of many irregular unions, as well as couples preparing for the sacrament of marriage, the testimonies of their discerned, rediscovered, rebuilt marital bond, their rebuilt bond with God and the Church, the growing co-responsibility of animators for the Movement as a whole, as well as the opinions of the bishops and our empowerment in the Pontifical Dicastery for Marriage. Laity , Family and Life – are a record of the “synodal journey”.

Where are you going my parish? Reflection after synod meetings

I first heard about the synod last October, and even then, not fully aware of what it was still about, I took part in synod meetings held as part of the leaders’ meetings of the Men of St. Francis movement. St. Joseph’s. Soon after, I was asked to organize such meetings by Fr. Pastor of his own parish. The organization of the meetings forced a deeper understanding of the topic and the discovery of how much the synod, which has begun, is needed by the Church.

Synodal consultation – an unexpected experience

When I first heard that Pope Francis intends to hold a Church-wide consultation ahead of the synod to be held in 2023, I had ambivalent feelings. On the one hand, it is a joy that the pope has matured such a need, and as the published documents showed, he demands such consultations everywhere and very widely, potentially inviting everyone. On the other hand, distrust that the clergy organizing the meetings will do everything to ensure that nothing good comes out of it. These fears I still have, by the way, and time will tell if they are unfounded. However, this is not what I wanted to write about. Surprisingly for myself, something else happened in me during the process itself.

Dialogue in the Church is important and necessary

I first heard about the synod last October, and even then, not fully aware of what it was still about, I took part in synod meetings held as part of the leaders’ meetings of the Men of St. Francis movement. St. Joseph’s. Soon after, I was asked to organize such meetings by Fr. Pastor of his own parish. The organization of the meetings forced a deeper understanding of the topic and the discovery of how much the synod, which has begun, is needed by the Church.

Synod is an opportunity

The Synod is a needed voice in the Church, but it is an advisory voice. Its purpose is not to establish by majority vote new rules of faith or change moral principles. For me, the synod meetings were an opportunity to have interesting conversations about the Church, to listen to other people’s opinions. They gave me the opportunity to better understand the topics discussed.

My image of the Church

I find that a special value in the Church is the active presence of pastors trying to activate those parishioners who still come to the temple. Their main focus is on conducting the pastoral care of the sacraments. Also of value are the faithful who live in communities like the Holy Family in humility, simplicity and worship of God, and in whom the other is Christ. Weakness, on the other hand, is the disappearance of the pastoral of evangelization, as I don’t see the actions of pastors among people who have stopped coming to the temple.

I hope the synod will bring about needed changes in our Church

I decided to participate in the synod meetings because I believe that this is an important and unique event in the history of the Church in which I can participate.
During the meetings I made new acquaintances with members of the Church I had the opportunity to listen to their views on various topics, it was important for me to discuss and exchange views. Rev. Raphael presented the history of the Church in an interesting way, while discussing the Gospel passages, he also commented on the passages very coolly.

Evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work

We made the decision to participate in the synod meetings consciously, realizing that this is an opportunity to express our own opinions on issues important to the Church. During the subsequent meetings, we discovered in practice that their structure (praying to the Holy Spirit, reading Scripture, listening sympathetically to what others said and pointing out what particularly moved us in what we heard) leads to valuable conclusions sometimes quite different from the assumptions with which we arrived at the synod meetings. For us, this is evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit and the deep value of synodal meetings.