The Field Ordinariate in Poland inaugurated the diocesan stage of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on October 17, 2021. The diocesan coordinator was appointed Fr. Capt. Dr. Rafal Kaniecki. The Synodal Team of the Field Ordinariate was established, consisting of 6 men, 5 women, 3 priests and 1 nun. Due to the peculiarities of the particular Church, the parish coordinators became chaplains – parish priests, chaplains of Polish military contingents, military representations, pastoral centers, organizational units of the Border Guard, the State Protection Service, the Police and the Railway Protection Guard. After initial preparations, on November 27, 2021. A “parish consultation” was launched, which lasted until March 31, 2022. During the meetings, the most common topics discussed were those suggested by the Synod’s “Vademecum on Synodality.”
The diocesan inauguration of the synodal process took place on October 24, 2021. As part of the plenary session of the First Synod of the Diocese of Zielona Góra and Gorzów. During it, diocesan synod participants – after praying together – undertook reflection in smaller groups on the issues identified in the Vademecum of the Synod of Bishops. The same material was also reflected on in parishes throughout the diocese. Parish consultations were held in November and December 2021. These took the form of open meetings of parish pastoral councils, which could be attended by anyone interested in becoming involved in the synodal process. Written reports of the parish meetings were submitted to the deans, who in January and February 2022. organized decanal consultations with the participation of clergy and lay faithful representing each parish in the decanate. At the same time, reflection within the framework of the synodal process was also undertaken, within the framework of their own structures, by some church movements and associations operating in the diocese. For those who, for various reasons, were unwilling or unable to participate in the synodal consultations described above, an opportunity for individual reflection was created by posting relevant aids on the diocesan website.
“…The church is like an apartment with separate rooms that do not even connect to each other by walls.” So begins the description of the experience of the Church expressed at the synodal meeting of the youth of the Archdiocese of Wroclaw within the framework of the Youth Parliament. “In each room different groups are gathered: young people, non-believers, priests, parishioners, the bishop. Theoretically they are together, but in fact – separately. In between is a cold corridor that no one wants to go out into, for fear of losing the warmth of their room. There are also people in the cold corridor. Since they cannot enter any room, they start to leave the apartment. What makes the apartment look like this is the lack of willingness to understand others. The apartment is in need of renovation. Restoration is about building roads that lead to Christ. It can only be carried out by people who notice the current situation.”
Inaugurated at the Vatican on October 9-10, 2021, by Pope Francis, the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, “For a Synodal Church. Communion, Participation, Mission,” became a unique event. The Holy Father invited all people to speak on issues affecting the Church. Everyone could join the discussion; no one could feel left out or excluded.
October 17, 2021 The inauguration of the synod in the Diocese of Wloclawek took place. Mass. The diocesan bishop, Krzysztof Wętkowski, presided at the Cathedral Basilica in Włocławek. In his homily, he stressed that the synod that is beginning is about hearing what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church today. The diocesan coordinator of the synod was appointed Fr. Andrzej Tomalak, who invited the following to work together s. Oliwia Kusek SCM and Hanna Krzemieniewska.
The Synodal Report on the Synodality of the Warsaw-Praga Diocese contains the most important conclusions of the synodal work done in the Warsaw-Praga Diocese. The DWP Synod Secretariat received: 468 questionnaires filled out communally, giving the name of the community, the number of members filling out the questionnaire and their ages; 634 questionnaires filled out by individuals giving their details (name, address, parish, age, gender) and 891 questionnaires which were filled out anonymously. A total of 1,993 questionnaires were received by the DWP Synod Secretariat and some 12,552 of our diocesans participated in completing them.
We are publishing a diocesan synthesis of consultations in parishes, communities and various communities of the Archdiocese of Warsaw conducted as part of the diocesan phase of the Synod “Toward a Synodal Church: communion, participation, mission.”
In the Archdiocese of Warsaw, the 16th Synod of the Church of God began on October 17, 2021. With a solemn celebration of the Eucharist at the Warsaw Archcathedral. It was attended by dean priests and contacts from most parishes in the diocese. Three diocesan contact persons were appointed: a clergyman and two laymen.
In the Archdiocese of Warmia, the synodal work was based on the already functioning institutions of the local Church. The body responsible for coordinating the synod, in addition to the coordinator appointed by the Archbishop Metropolitan of Warmia, was the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, which established the directions for consultation activities during the meeting at the beginning of the Synod. Their foundation was to be laid by parish pastoral councils, which were tasked with conducting consultations at the parish level. The Archbishop addressed a pastoral letter to diocesans at the beginning of Advent, in which he encouraged them to take part in the consultation phase. Special booklets were also prepared, which included a catechism explanation of what the Church is and its essence, encouragement to undertake their own synodal deliberations, as well as four supporting questions to help the faithful participate in the consultation phase.
Calendar of synodal events
– On September 29, 2021, the Bishop of Torun Wieslaw Smigiel appointed a diocesan delegate for the diocese. The Sixteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops and the Diocesan Team for the Synod of Bishops. Synod: 9 people
– On October 6, 2021, Bishop Wieslaw Smigiel of Torun sent a special word to diocesans on the occasion of the beginning of the Synod of Bishops
– October 17, 2021, Mass, inaugurating the diocesan stage of preparation for the Synod, Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Toruń
– October 2021: preparation of synodal materials, which were distributed to parishes, groups, movements and communities and were placed in a special tab on the website of the Diocese of Toruń: Word of the Bishop of Toruń; general information on the Synod- calendar; composition of the Diocesan Synod Team. Synod; the text of the Prayer for the Fruits of the Synod; indications for the synodal path in the parish; indications for the synodal path in communities, movements and associations and other synodal groups; indications for the synodal path lived individually; the scheme of the Liturgy of the Word, which is part of, the synodal meeting
Diocesan consultation within the framework of the Synod of Bishops (2021-2023) by the decision of the Bishop of Tarnów, was included in the ongoing 5th Synod of the Diocese of Tarnów . The conclusions developed during the preparatory and main period of the 5th SDT are thus reflected in the following responses to the 10 Vatican issues. In the humility of listening to the Holy Spirit, from the very beginning of the convening of the 5th SDT, the diocesan synodal work was intuitively oriented according to the assumptions and directions that today we find expressed explicitely m. in. in the Synod’s Vademecum on Synodality, the Preparatory Document for the 16th Ordinary General Synod of Bishops, and the International Theological Commission’s document Synodality in the Life and Mission of the Church. As it began its work, the 5th SDT was based on current canon law, the March 19, 1997 Instruction on Diocesan Synods, the inspiration of Pope Francis in his speech “Synodality” a constitutive dimension of the Church, and other documents and texts developing the idea of synodality. Thus, the inclusion of the diocesan stage of the Synod of Bishops (2021-2023) in the ongoing work of the 5th SDT is fully justified and represents its crowning achievement and an authentic synthesis not only of the synodal conclusions, but above all of all synodal activities showing the beauty of the Church community, which, according to the motto of the 5th SDT, is to be after Christ . Thus, an integral part of the following synthesis from the consultation of the Synod of Bishops (2021-2023) is to show in this introduction the synodality of the Tarnów Church within the framework of the entire 5th SDT.
A key goal for the diocese was to include as many people as possible in the synod, working in small groups. This was aimed at realizing a real dialogue and involving in the work of the synod people who, despite being in the Church, in practice have never been allowed to speak. In addition, a fundamental goal was to extend the synod’s reach to every parish community (“to get the Synod under the thatches”). The basic method of work developed by the synodal team, working closely with the diocesan bishop, is meetings in small groups (max. 12 people) led by coordinators (one or two people). Each of the formed groups was invited to participate in four meetings, about a month apart, between December 2021 and April 2022. Each group was asked to prepare a note (according to an established scheme – cf. Appendix 1) of each meeting and forward it via email to the synodal team.