“A common way” is only possible if it is based on communal listening to the Word of God and the celebration of the Eucharist.
Do liturgical celebrations and the experience of community prayer in our Church have a real impact on my/our practice of daily life: decisions, choices, inspirations? Do we feel invited to actively (practically) engage in the liturgy, or are we left with the role of “spectator”? Do we nurture in ourselves the desire for commitment? Does experiencing the liturgy strengthen and motivate me/us to undertake the mission of evangelization?
Wszystkie syntezy w jednym dokumencie PDF
The liturgy is the center of the faith experience. The beauty of the liturgy lived in community helps to experience God, is a source of communion with Him and helps to abide in it every day. The liturgy builds the parish community. Evangelization also depends on the beauty of the liturgy. During the liturgy, regardless of formation, commitment, priorities and daily choices, we can be together and build a sense of unity in our diversity. This results in high expectations for the liturgy.
We wish to experience it in a beautiful and careful way. We see the need for greater attention to liturgical celebrations, especially Sunday Mass – this is “one of the most important challenges for the entire local community.” Verbal (words) and non-verbal (gestures, postures, vestments, temple decor) messages are important in celebrations. During the synodal consultations, there was a call for greater concern for ars celebrandi on the part of sacramental ministers. Attention was drawn to the need to eliminate perceived haste, abbreviated Mass (e.g., chants limited to one stanza), routine, lack of commitment, and the temptation to “treat the celebration quantitatively rather than qualitatively.” It was demanded that singing during liturgies and services be well prepared. The importance of good lectors, organ playing, and schola was emphasized. It is also important to follow liturgical norms.
During the synod, the problem of the low level of preaching resounded homily. It was raised that Catholic social teaching is not presented properly, so that many people perceive taking up the subject as political preaching, sometimes even with personal references. Also discouraged is the moralistic tone of homilies, which have no place for the Good News and kerygma. Priests in many cases are unprepared to preach the word of God. Sermons often lack not only a deep explanation of the Word read and the truths of the faith, but also any reference to the Bible. It is not uncommon for celebrants to read other people’s texts, downloaded from the Internet, to preach sermons or homilies that are too short or too long and convoluted, thereby disrespecting or even insulting their listeners. The faithful greatly appreciate these places, where a short homily is preached every day during Mass, explaining the word of God that is read. They stressed the need to preach short homilies on weekdays, “daily, albeit three-minute meditations on the word of God.” The faithful also pointed out the misunderstanding of liturgical signs. Therefore, they call for the introduction of commentaries and liturgical catechesis.
Another issue being addressed is the opportunity to meet with God in silence before the Blessed Sacrament, which involves opening churches outside of liturgy time. Those who participated in the consultations and synod meetings recognize the deep need for a moment of adoration in silence after receiving Holy Communion. The possibility of all-day adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is greatly appreciated, and where this does not exist, it is advocated. Priests’ participation in services or adoration is seen as their testimony. “First Sunday of the month – exposition of the Blessed Sacrament from hrs. 1 pm to 1 am. 17.00. The faithful come, there are no crowds, but someone is always watching. We have never seen a priest appear even for a moment.”
Not only clergy should be involved in the liturgy. The importance of the involvement of lay people was emphasized: altar servers, acolytes, ceremonialists, lectors. The need for active inclusion in the liturgy also applies to people with disabilities.
The synod also revealed differences in approaches to the form of the liturgy. Some of the faithful called for the creation of more places to participate in the liturgy celebrated in the extraordinary rite (the so-called traditional form). In their view, in the face of frequent liturgical neglect, this form guarantees the quality and sanctity of the celebration, and at the same time helps more in the personal sanctification of those participating.
1.1.1 How do prayer and liturgical celebration effectively inspire and guide our “walking together”?
– For me, the Eucharist is a special encounter in community with Jesus Christ. I rejoice when I see the same aspiration in the brothers. I find it difficult when I see boredom and yawning next to and among the concelebrants.
– In my case, all this has a colossal impact and very much influences my decisions. Quite often I find answers to my doubts in the Word of God that I read or listen to, during Mass or Adoration, but also in the people around me, especially the priests and nuns who participate with me in practicing the faith. It happens that thanks to the “communion of hearts” we think alike, come up with interesting ideas that inspire us, encourage us to do more, develop personally and have closer relationships with others and with God.
– Unsupported life perishes, spiritual ones too, if it lacks personal prayer, community prayer and liturgy. In addition to what comes from the outside as the gift of the eucharist or the sacraments, it is important to be able to quiet down and switch into active participation mode. The best conveyed content does not hit if there is a lack of disposition in a person. Disposition is sometimes a grace from God, much more often, however, you have to work it out with your attitude. One can be physically present and in a distant inner reality.
– Prayer and liturgical celebration provide a sense of community. However, sometimes there is a lack of spontaneity in Polish churches and authentic commitment few choose to perform the ministry of lector or acolyte. A certain problem is conscious participation in the liturgy. Much depends, of course, on the priests, their commitment and charisma. They are the ones who guide and inspire people to deepen their faith.
– A decision like a decision. One has not yet been born that would please everyone. Once the “charismatics” rejoice and inspire, and at other times the “tridentists.” Life.
– In the lives of many of the faithful of our parish and my own personal life, prayer and liturgical celebration influence important decisions. In my case, this has been the case all my life, but not always with as much force as now. It’s only in the last few years, thanks to being a lector and thanks to the community I’m in, that this has played a major role. And it turns out that by relying on God’s Will, life is simply easier. Practically daily Eucharist and monthly confession also help a lot.
– During each celebration, God also sanctifies the congregation. When we come to church, we often seek God’s inspiration to follow through life. The didactic element of the Mass is the Liturgy of the Word. It is in it that God and the Church speak to man. It is very good that in our church during every evening Mass on weekdays a homily is preached. It allows the faithful to better understand the meaning of God’s word addressed to them and makes it easier to find answers to their questions.
1.1.3 How do we promote the active participation of all the faithful in the liturgy and perform the function of sanctification?
– By allowing lay faithful to actively participate in the Eucharist, such as reading lessons, commentaries or singing psalms, as well as to actively participate during the celebration of services such as the rosary and the Stations of the Cross, It is worth considering more closely how to encourage all the faithful, not just the functional ones, to these functions. Often these are people who already hold some kind of function in groups operating at parishes.
– The minimum level of active participation expected of the faithful is responses to the priest’s invocations and acclamations. It should be promoted that children are taught from a young age to respond to the calls of the priest. At present, it is hugely neglected, as can be seen even by boys preparing for altar boy ministry. Boys after their first Communion have difficulty responding to the simplest calls. It’s hard to say whether this is due more to parental neglect or errors in school catechization.
– To instill among the faithful an informed and active participation in Mass, it may be worthwhile to deliver a homily or conference on liturgical themes from time to time.
– It might be worth introducing regular meetings for leaders of communities and singing groups that regularly serve at Masses to familiarize them with liturgical regulations.
– An important aspect of involvement is active participation in the liturgy (reading the lessons, singing, serving at the altar). We don’t get involved enough, and the lack of initiative is sometimes evident on the part of both the faithful and the priests.
– The role of the laity in liturgical service is very important, because it brings lay representatives closer to the altar. Unfortunately, there is less and less involvement of the laity in this ministry, and thus priests are at risk of celebrating services alone, without the company of support persons. The number of altar boys has decreased noticeably.
– Our parish has had a group of lectors for several years, who were prepared for this function through a series of catechesis sessions led by priests, and then received the crosses of lectors from the hands of the bishop. Women predominate among the lectors, but there are also a few men.
– Established acolytes, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, can be in great need especially during the celebration of Mass or the Paschal Triduum, when large numbers of the faithful extend Holy Communion. They could also ease the burden on priests when giving Communion to the sick.
The prevailing belief is that the spirit of community cannot be experienced without participation in sacramental life and a strong bond with other members. Religious life was an object of synodal interest and reflection discussed in each synthesis.
Synodal reports are notable for their frequent emphasis on the need to care for the beauty of the liturgy with rules that should be clearly presented and enforced first by the celebrants. There can be no experimentation, novelty or voluntarism. This could lead to a misunderstanding of the liturgical action, contribute to distractions and obliterate the essence of the liturgy, which becomes a theatrical performance far removed from the realm of the sacred. Celebrants should not succumb to laziness, routine, lack of commitment or the temptation to “treat the celebration quantitatively rather than qualitatively.” The beauty of the liturgy lived in community helps to experience God, and is a source of communion with Him both in the life of faith and in everyday life. Not only the clergy, but also the lay faithful should be involved in the liturgical act – if only through the ministry of lector, the preparation of the invocations of the prayers of the faithful, or the altar service.
The reports sent highlighted a lack of awareness of liturgical signs and a lack of understanding of them. Very often there is a call for commentaries and, above all, liturgical catechesis – these should be directed not only to children and adolescents as part of school lessons, but should also be conducted for adults. The faithful expect priests to provide daily commentaries (short homilies) on the day’s readings. At the same time, the issue of adapting the language of preaching (“theological and ecclesiastical”) to the realities of modern times is emphasized on this occasion. It is often incomprehensible, hermetic, “unreal.”
The fundamental sacrament of Christian daily life for the faithful participating in the synodal journey is the Eucharist. In addition to the Mass. The practice of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is important. There are frequent requests to allow it in every parish at least once a week – the spiritual fruits of this religious practice were emphasized.
With a specific demand, participants in the synodal meetings addressed the manner of receiving Holy Communion. – On the hand and into the mouth. Proponents of the traditional form postulate its exclusivity. More often, however, there is a need to explain to the faithful the legitimacy and dignity of both attitudes.
A sacrament that found more than one reference in the synod’s reflections is the sacrament of penance and reconciliation. It was not particularly analyzed, but the need for formation of the faithful regarding preparation for confession was pointed out. At the same time, there have been specific demands for confessors, who should devote more time and patience to waiting on and listening to penitents. Confession must not be an interrogation of sins (interrogation), but an experience of God’s mercy and a motivation – through proper instruction and repentance – to continue working on personal sanctification.
The image of the priesthood in the religious life of the Church is important. They pointed out the need for authenticity in living out the faith in priests and being an uncompromising witness to Christ. At the same time, they should be distinguished by their pastoral concern for the faithful. A priest is an authority, a man who is open to the entire parish group, building community membership, uniting. Priests should listen, not be afraid of dialogue, and at the same time be able to accept words of instruction and criticism. The need to wear priestly garb was pointed out – “the priest, through his attire, is supposed to sting the eyes, as it were, to remind people of his existence, of his readiness for spiritual ministry, and to provoke an encounter.”
The life of the Church is inextricably linked to Scripture. The reading of the Bible both individually and communally, as well as its exegetical and pastoral translation, is a strong synodal demand. Many pointed out that the Sunday Eucharist is the only opportunity to “meet” with the Word of God during the entire week.
A standout suggestion from the synod groups is to point out the need for adult catechesis. Many church members ended their religious education at the school level and did not have the opportunity at later stages of life to continue and develop it. The desire for adult catechesis is underscored by the need to translate, among other things. truths of the faith, liturgical signs, translation of Scripture. In this context, it is also advocated that priests preach catechism sermons.
The Church, in order to grow and look with hope to the future, should focus its efforts on the pastoral care of children and young people. With trepidation and concern, participants in the synodal meetings point to a radical decline in the involvement of the younger generation in the life of the Church. The young themselves admit that for many of them participation in religious life is “solely the result of upbringing.” They criticize the attitudes of liturgical participants, pointing to a focus on self and judgment of others, more than on authentic religious experience. They make no secret of the fact that they are moving away from religious practice due to lack of time, a proliferation of school and extracurricular activities, work or preoccupation with planning for the future. They also doubt the validity of the sacrament of penance, asking: “why should I confess to someone who also sins?”. They expect authenticity from priests, and need them not as “friends” but as managers and spiritual fathers. The coordinator in charge of synthesizing the synodal youth meetings concluded: “We (us adults and us priests) need to listen to what the young people we asked answered our questions, because from the answers they gave, it seems that zeal for the Church often consumes them much more than it does us.”
The above words are hopeful, especially in the context of the lack of a clear answer to the question “How to attract young people to the Church?”. Suggestions that emerged included: identifying leaders among local youth, involving them in parish activities, promoting specific formation communities or, finally, organizing various projects in line with the interests of young people. It was pointed out that “in addition to undertaking various activities, it is also important to have parishioners pray persistently for the intentions of young people, and to have an attitude of love and witness to the good life of adults (…).” It was repeatedly stressed that the way to the conversion of young people is the proper formation of entire families – the joint catechesis and evangelization of parents and their children in preparation for First Holy Communion and Confirmation was advocated. Preparation for the sacraments should take place within the parish and resemble spiritual direction. It has been stressed more than once that, above all, the family has an influence on the religious practices of the younger generation. Masses with sermons addressed to children should be an important pastoral element – “… it is necessary to pay attention to the need for individual accompaniment on the part of the priest to young people and to re-enter into dialogue with them, even individually.”
Communities of the living Church play an important role in both the personal formation of the faithful. Emphasizing their role in working on themselves, they pointed out the danger of hermeticism: “sometimes there is the impression that (…) they are just a place for the well-being of their members. Quite closed to outsiders. What is needed is a moment of going outside to be on the road, not in one’s own circle.” However, it is important to point out the positive aspects, which are aptly put: “the community experience of faith strengthens us in our daily lives, points us in the direction of action, motivates us to holiness and inspires us to engage in building a civilization based on the Gospel.” Communities operating at parishes are at the same time a voice to which the Church should listen. They should undertake joint initiatives, such as organizing a parish community congress.
1.1.2 Ambivalent experience of the church in specific categories: Church – parish / place of worship – pastor – pastoral care – formation of the liturgy of services – spirituality / common prayer.
The following selected quotes and descriptions representatively reflect the ambivalent range of experiences.
Evaluations of the way the liturgy is celebrated fluctuate between acceptance and numerous requests for change. “sermon, homily must enrich”; “rituals deepen my faith”; “cabaret performance”; “varied; variously arranged”; “low quality of church music”; “liturgy is to be celebrated with due reverence without trivializing the Mystery”; “without experiments and unnecessary embellishments”; “increasing appeal to young people; taking children seriously and involving them”; “linking liturgy without platitudes to daily life”.
Spirituality/common prayer: “less psychologizing – put the Lord God at the center”; “the need for a holistic view of man in the physical – mental – religious dimension”; “the Church needs “good, loving, committed priests and laymen who are interested in spiritual life, who burn with love for God and the Church.” “The Church is detached from life; boring; too little is said about doubts and what faith means to us; empty words; life and words do not go hand in hand”; “difficult issues in the Church (abuse of power, sex scandals) hinder the possibility of finding oneself in the community.”
From the abundant material collected during synodal meetings at various levels of Church life in the Archdiocese of Czestochowa, as well as from the responses to the questionnaires sent out and from comments sent to social media sites and profiles, three groups of voices and requests were identified, which were repeated most often. These are: the need for the sacred; the problem of inter-personal and inter-community relations; and building a clear vision of how the Church functions in the pastoral and institutional areas. These three groups of applications will be discussed below. It should be added that in the collected synodal material there were many voices referring to specific parishes, communities, temples or individuals. These were specific problems, the discussion and solution of which concern the mentioned realities. They are not listed in the following synthesis, as they relate to individual cases and individual problems and are not general in nature.
The most important desire, which was reiterated during all synod meetings and found in the collected opinions, concerned the sphere of the sacred in the Church. On the one hand were the voices of people who experience such a reality in the Church, especially in movements and communities, as well as in some parishes. On the other hand – there were many people who are looking for the sacred and spirituality and do not find them. This is especially true of parish communities, which, according to synod participants, place more emphasis on the institutional and material dimensions and less on the spiritual. The issues raised in this sphere concern the following:
18.104.22.168 Preaching the word of God and the quality of homilies
The faithful greatly appreciate those shrines and chapels where there is a daily short homily explaining the Scripture passage read earlier. In many parishes, the problem of the low level of homilies preached has been noted. They lack not only a profound explanation of the readings and the truths of the faith, but also often any reference to the Bible. In many parishes, the problem of not preaching Catholic social teaching has also been raised, causing many people to perceive it as political preaching, sometimes even with personal references. Some of the faithful, moreover, are discouraged by the preaching of homilies solely in a moralistic tone; ones that lack the Good News and kerygma. Some have pointed out that the bishops’ letters read in church are edited in a way that is not always understandable to the average audience.
22.214.171.124 Biblical animation of pastoral care
The archdiocese has noticed the increasing formation of Bible circles in parishes. According to the synodal votes collected, the faithful expect a greater presence of the Word of God not only in homilies, but also in all pastoral ministry. They want to learn even more about the Bible and learn to discern reality in a biblical key.
126.96.36.199 Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and reverence for the Eucharist
The desire for frequent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was repeatedly emphasized in the synodal votes. They gave thanks for the large number of chapels for all-day adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the archdiocese. Faced with the practice of adoration, the viewpoints of the laity and clergy differ. Priests emphasize that there is a shortage of faithful during daily adoration, that only the most devout faithful abide by the Lord Jesus during the 24-hour exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The laity, on the other hand, express a desire for priests to pray with them during adoration and teach them this type of prayer. There have been examples of parishes where, according to the laity, priests refuse to agree to extend adoration.
188.8.131.52 Concern for liturgy
A great many synodal voices were concerned with the quality of the liturgy celebrated in the churches of the archdiocese. The faithful greatly appreciate those parishes and communities where the liturgy is celebrated with anointing and reverence. They are disturbed by the haste evident in the liturgy, the manipulation of the course of the service and making arbitrary changes to it, and the violation of liturgical regulations – often on the part of the celebrants. The need to care for the beauty of the liturgy was repeatedly emphasized, especially when it comes to singing or the ministry of altar servers. They noted the lack of organists in parishes and their poor musical and liturgical preparation. They are pleased to see the presence of the Liturgical Altar Service in many parishes and the ever-improving formation of altar servers. Unfortunately, quite a few parishes were still listed where there is either a shortage of altar servers or no formation of candidates for the liturgical service. Voices have been raised about the sometimes creeping kitsch in the design of sacred spaces; there has been a call for top-down attention to the architecture and design of sacred interiors. The synod meetings were also attended by representatives of traditionalist circles, who drew attention to such issues as the manner of administering Holy Communion and the place of the tabernacle in the chancel.
184.108.40.206 In-depth and systematic formation in movements and communities
Many parishes lack any community proposal for deeper Christian formation. The number of communities operating in parishes is shrinking, hence many of the faithful are wandering outside their community in search of a shared experience of faith; they are looking for an environment of growth and spiritual experience. The most frequently mentioned communities in parishes are the Living Rosary and the Liturgical Altar Service.
220.127.116.11 Parish catechesis
During the meetings, as well as in the synodal votes, there were demands for parish catechesis for the general faithful. They noted the great effort put into formation that prepares people to receive the Holy Sacraments, but this formation is often too formal and external. In the formation of children and adolescents, it has been noted that the methods of school didactics have been transferred to parish catechesis, which does not give the young an experience of community. Participants in the synod discussion voiced the postulate of the need for parish catechesis, but did not specify what it should look like. Priests, on the other hand, complained that their invitations to various forms of catechesis at the parish received little response from the faithful.
18.104.22.168 Spirituality of priests serving in parishes and communities
A great many participants in the synodal process in the archdiocese addressed the topic of the spirituality of priests. They expect a visible attitude of spirituality from their priests, living not by secular standards. They enjoy many clergymen praying and trying to live by the rules of the Gospel. There have also been quite a few comments about priests’ overly secular and lavish lives, the overemphasis on material and administrative matters at the expense of spiritual ones in their conduct and ministry.
It is important to remember that there is room in the Church for everyone (for the wounded, for those unable to benefit from the sacraments). Everyone has a place in the liturgy. Everyone, within the framework of his or her place, should properly engage in the liturgy while remembering that it is not his or her private property, but belongs to the whole Church.
We learn good examples from our parents, so the priest, as the spiritual father of his faithful, should show by his conduct how to relate to the most sacred things. Unfortunately, quite often we encounter an anti example. The gift of priesthood is treated not as a vocation, but as a profession.
For the liturgy to be celebrated with dignity, liturgical norms must be observed. This is what the faithful expect from the pastor. Deviating from the norms pushes the faithful away from the liturgy. If the celebration is shortened, impoverished, incompatible things are introduced into it, it is not intended to glorify God, but to please people.
If the celebration is done with dignity, we feel that we have support in the Church. The fact that the liturgical principles remain unchanged despite the changing world gives a sense of security.
The laity can get involved in the preparation of the liturgy by: taking care of the cleanliness and beautiful decoration of the church, preparing, for example, altars for the Corpus Christi procession, harvest wreaths and other occasional activities that help to experience the liturgy.
Liturgical celebrations are usually combined with the proclamation of Church teaching. This one, in turn, contains, in addition to an exposition of doctrine, principles concerning morality and ethics. The voice of the Holy Spirit, which can be heard and experienced both in celebration and prayer, is a factor that influences decisions.
The path to making the Eucharist the center of a community’s life begins with the zealous and devout celebration of the Eucharist by the community’s pastor. The power of his testimony is undeniable. Another help is to skillfully explain the real presence of Jesus Christ under the Eucharistic figures. Also not to be overlooked is the importance of giving the faithful the opportunity to commune with the Blessed Sacrament through adoration.
The active participation of the faithful in the liturgy will often depend on their personal relationship with the pastor. The more intimate and fatherly the relationship between the community’s leader and its members, the more willing they are to open themselves to active participation in the liturgy.
It is gratifying to know that in many parishes priests celebrate Masses. and services with due respect and devotion. The homilies are based on the Word of God, are preached in language that is easy to understand, address the problems of the faithful and are free of political commentary.
The involvement of the entire liturgical team is evident: altar servers, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. In much of the parish, there is visible concern for the cleanliness and decoration of the parish church building and branch chapels, concern for the cleanliness of vestments and liturgical paraments.
In many parishes, the faithful are actively involved in the liturgy of the Mass. Through singing. There are parish choirs and youth scholas.
Unfortunately, there are faithful who attend the Eucharist guided mainly by tradition rather than true faith. In some priests, routine in the service and celebration of the Eucharist is noted. Also evident is the introduction of worldly elements into the liturgy by some priests and laymen, thereby destroying the sense of the Sacred. In more than a dozen synodal conclusions, there is a call to protect the liturgy from secularization. In some places there is non-liturgical or even purely secular music.
Formation of children, adolescents and adults on the importance of the value of the Eucharist and the ability to live it in a Catholic manner is needed. Children and young people come to church and receive the sacraments out of necessity or obligation (such as First Communion or the sacrament of Confirmation). When they join the First Holy Communion. or confirmation discontinue religious practices.
“Sharing the word and celebrating the Eucharist together makes us more brothers and transforms us into a holy and missionary community” (Gaudete et exultate 141).
Participants in the meetings repeatedly pointed out in their statements the value of the Holy Sacraments and living the word of God. In their view, a strong spiritual foundation determines authentic Christian witness and proper involvement in the Church. Exceptional importance was given to participation and personal involvement in the liturgy of the Mass. Greater attention to the beauty of the Eucharist was called for, expressed, among other things, as follows. proper preparation of homilies and the involvement of lay people in the liturgy (including through the ministry of cantors and lectors). It has been suggested repeatedly that preaching should be dominated by the language of kerygma, fact and testimony. The involvement of priests and bishops should be carried out in unity with the Magisterium of the Church, in the spirit of Christian tradition, taking into account both new evangelization methods and proven prayer and pastoral forms (votive services, rosary prayer, etc.).
The need to celebrate Mass on Sundays was pointed out. With the participation of children and families. They should be preceded by an appropriate introduction and preparation. In the voices of participants, there were also demands to create permanent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in churches and to adapt the hours of services to the capacity and rhythm of the faithful. In many statements, a strong emphasis was placed on the importance of a permanent confessional and the openness of pastors to this ministry, their availability and their dedicated time. Considering the future of the Church in the context of vocation ministry, participants in the meetings quite often reported the need for renewed work with families and constant prayer for new vocations to priestly life. Attention was also paid to constant prayer for priests.
The accounts of the synodal teams highlighted the sanctifying and community-forming role of celebration, which builds unity with God and among people. It was noted that the celebrations integrate the local community. Preparation for a better experience of them are meetings outside the liturgy. They emphasized the role of the Word of God and the involvement of the laity in reading Scripture and performing other ministries during the liturgy. Attention was paid to the need for liturgical formation of the faithful in the form of catechesis for adults and spiritual preparation through lectio divina and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Particularly important is the ongoing formation of liturgical ministers: altar servers, lectors, cantors, members of the schola.
Various parish communities have an important task in preparing the celebration. It was postulated that Bible circles and liturgical groups preparing celebrations should be formed. Difficulties in involving the lay faithful were highlighted, especially in small parishes. The value of services held in public spaces outside the church walls was noted. They emphasized the role of the family, the value of family participation in the liturgy and the celebration of the so-called “liturgy”. home liturgy. The need to introduce communal prayer with the Liturgy of the Hours was postulated.
Many accounts pointed out the need for regularity and constancy of services according to the rhythm of the liturgical year. The need to explain the various parts of the Mass, signs and rites and to introduce liturgical commentaries was postulated. Attention was paid to care for the beauty of the liturgy, expressed in the decor of the chancel, the preparation and conduct of the celebration. Moments of silence are also important in it. They appreciated the role of liturgical singing and pointed out the need to teach church songs. The faithful should be acquainted with the history of the parish temple and its artistic wealth. Attention was given to the need for greater sensitivity toward people with disabilities to enable them to participate in the liturgy.
Opinions were divided regarding the ministry at the altar of women and girls. However, they stressed the value of involving young people in celebrations, especially as altar servers, as vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life are born from here.
Some statements pointed out that the Mass is first and foremost the making present of Christ’s sacrifice, which should be reminded by the cross centrally placed on the altar. Attention was drawn to the value of the hierarchical priesthood, which cannot be replaced by various liturgical ministries of the laity, such as in distributing Holy Communion to the faithful. There were also calls for giving more responsibility to lectors, acolytes and other ministers, such as in preparing and leading worship services. The need for proper selection of liturgical ministers and their proper formation was emphasized. It called for changes to be made in the way people prepare to receive the Holy Sacraments, especially Confirmation.
The Church is the place where the sacraments are administered. The faithful, in order to make good use of them, should understand their nature. A special place is given to the Eucharist, which is the source and summit of Christian life, and the sacrament of penance and reconciliation. Both sacraments have a pedagogical character. Christ himself teaches sacrificial love and forgiveness. The task of priests should be, according to the synodal teams, to explain the various parts of the Mass as often as possible: signs, gestures and attitudes. It is also the desire of the faithful that at least a brief commentary on the readings (homily) be present during weekday liturgies as part of the liturgy of the word. In addition, there is a call for greater accessibility to the sacrament of penance, which should be celebrated without rushing with individual instruction.
Of particular importance during the Eucharist is preaching (homily). In order for preached homilies to bear proper fruit, they should be preached in language that can be understood. It would be necessary to explain basic concepts such as love, sin, sacrifice, fasting more often, and to preach the word of God in a historical and contemporary context, as well as taking into account existential and social factors.
The deliberations in the Diocese of Lowicz focused on several topics:
1.1 Liturgy, sacraments, Eucharist – sources of faith, hope and love and foundations for building the community of the Church.
The Church’s task is not only to administer the sacraments, but also to shape people to receive them consciously. Sacraments, for they are the most important elements in the life of the Church, because from them we draw strength to develop our spiritual and daily life, sanctify ourselves and the world, and receive God’s blessing.
Formation for living the sacraments is necessary because in today’s world many “lukewarm” Catholics reduce receiving the sacraments to “passing” the next stage of life, receiving a document, a formality that has to be done and sometimes even to magic signs.
First of all, attention should be paid to preparing for the proper experience of the Eucharist. Efforts should be made to ensure that everyone participates in the most lively way possible. The Mass must not be a mere spectacle, but an encounter with the living God. It is very important that the words and signs used in the liturgy of the sacraments be understood. The liturgy should be prepared and beautiful.
At the community level, the liturgy is most often the only moment that brings all parishioners together. Here, regardless of formation, commitments, priorities and daily choices, we can be together and build a sense of unity in our diversity. The need to care for the beauty of the liturgy as a means of evangelization was emphasized. On an individual level, the liturgy is the center of the experience of faith and community: “Without the liturgy and Mass I cannot imagine life, and the liturgy is a reflection of life, when I lack strength and motivation participating in the liturgy with others gives me a sense of community and lightness and I say: Lord send me!”, “The liturgy is to me what water is to a nurtured plant”. Involvement in the celebration is understood in the first place as a spiritual commitment, and that on the part of both the laity and the presbyter. For the laity, it is about experiencing the liturgy not as theater, but as the real action of God. To be able to engage in this way requires not only faith, but also knowledge. “We are hampered in our full commitment by the fact that we still know too little about the symbols, the essential elements of the celebration. Catechesis on these topics would be useful. People sometimes go to Mass and, without fully understanding the various parts of the Mass, are bored and not fully engaged in the liturgy.” In the eyes of the faithful, the presbyter’s commitment is experienced through the way he celebrates the liturgy, preparing for it (homilies). “In experiencing the liturgy, I am greatly helped by the experience of the priest. When a priest is real at the altar, when it feels authentic, it builds a relationship with God.” Not everyone feels called to specific involvement through reading, singing, serving at the altar. This is due to various reasons, including. from passivity by “settling in” to their place in the Church, when for years the faithful were not expected to be active. This passive attitude is sometimes reinforced by a lack of encouragement from priests and sometimes even an expressed reluctance to have the faithful join in the liturgy. Many parishioners do not realize that they could volunteer for liturgical service. There are few adult men among the liturgical altar service. “Liturgy has always influenced me – more or less – the more beautiful it was the more it inspired me. I started serving mass as an adult. First my sons started and then I, to set a good example for them, I was also encouraged by the fact that other adults were serving. I signed up for the altar boys course – I was much older than the other participants. I believe there is a need to organize altar server courses for adults. This could encourage adult men.”
An important experience was the pandemic period, in which we were mostly deprived of the opportunity to participate in the celebration. We could then feel how much we had previously underestimated the opportunity to participate in the liturgy, which we had taken for granted until the pandemic. In this context, the faithful greatly appreciated the presence of priests in the network, especially the daily celebration of the Eucharist by Archbishop Grzegorz Rysia. “The pandemic made us realize how much we could lose. We have become accustomed to the idea that liturgy is something normal, that we are entitled to it. Only the pandemic showed how often we fail to appreciate that we can participate in the liturgy every day. There are places where this is impossible. During online mass, the sermons were beautiful, but there was a lack of going to church when you need to get ready and go.” Unfortunately, the synod did not include the circles of the Latin tradition, for whom living the Tridentine liturgy is of such great importance.
“The Church as a community of people with God and people among themselves” was the theme of the second synodal meeting. Its participants, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful, unanimously pointed to several spaces for building community with God, namely: personal and communal prayer, abiding before the Lord in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist and other holy sacraments and the Word of God; less frequently in the beauty of the created world. Attention was paid to the dangers threatening this bond, such as the lack of religious knowledge, enslavement to wealth, technological development, the pursuit of money and consumerism, all of which generate the so-called “”religiously based” bond. “the silent apostasy of the satiated man.” It does not mean a formal departure from God, but actual unbelief, indifference and distance from the Church. Some of these phenomena even affect the clergy. The pastoralists themselves admit to “losing themselves in menial duties” and being overloaded with work, see their environment as victims of pride, routine, anonymity or a professional approach to priestly duties, and perceive a clear division between “we, the clergy – you, the laity.” This division and its consequences in terms of lack of dialogue, listening, understanding, cooperation were also repeatedly pointed out by the lay faithful in the synodal consultations. Both clergy and laity also note the distortions of healthy piety present in the Church today, when it is pursued individually, “in their own way,” “alongside the Church,” listening to Internet prophets and visionaries. The source of particular confusion is diagnosed in the activities of Fr. Peter Natanek, Fr. Daniel Galus and some clergy and lay youtubers. Among other things, their activities have led to a deep polarization of attitudes toward the pandemic restrictions being introduced in churches and the issue of giving Holy Communion. on hand.
For many participants in the synodal consultations, the Church is a place for building bonds with people. Common prayer, participation in Mass, worship services, joint initiatives and pastoral actions in parishes unite, especially smaller communities, and the community of faith with others gives motivation to profess it manfully every day. In this regard, small prayer and formation communities play a special role, the hunger for which was declared by many participants in the synod meetings. Some clergymen, too, pointed to the need today to build the parish as a community of communities and to share responsibility for it with the laity. However, some of them still invariably show a distance from the activity of the laity in the Church, especially in the work of evangelization. There was also no shortage of testimonies from people who feel lonely, alienated and hungry for spiritual intimacy in the Church community. Several pointed out the destructive power of gossip, unkindness, competition, rivalry for the favor of leaders or spiritual mentors in building smaller or larger communities, as well as another division of “we-we” in parish communities: we – regularly practicing and committed and you – Sunday Catholics, not integrated into the community.
To strengthen the ecclesiastical communion of man with God and people with each other, clergy and lay participants in the synodal meetings postulated:
- greater concern on the part of the clergy for the beauty of the liturgy, including liturgy celebrated in a minority language, without unnecessary simplification and infantilism, so that they are a space and means of deepening personal and communal connection with God;
- opening churches so that one can adore the Blessed Sacrament or enter for a moment of prayer at any time of the day;
- Using various opportunities to preach catechesis to adults so that they can build their faith on solid catechism and biblical knowledge;
- better cooperation between pastors and lay catechists and help build each other’s authority;
- that bishops take teaching and decisions at the level of the Bishops’ Conference in a spirit of synodality and inspiring unity, and that they communicate this teaching in homilies and pastoral letters more concisely and in simple and understandable language;
- more frequent presence of bishops in parishes (in addition to visitation and confirmation) and in priestly communities, with the aim of building trust and taking common care of the faithful;
- The formation of decanal and supra-decanal priestly communities, sharing and fraternal support groups, showing more respect to older priests by younger ones;
- the fight against clericalism undertaken by the clergy themselves through a way of being and behaving that suggests brotherhood with the faithful rather than ruling them;
- Developing a system for verifying the theological correctness and ecclesiality of teachings preached online on behalf of the Church;
- inviting new residents of the parish and those who identify poorly with the parish community to work with and integrate into the parish community;
- broadly speaking, concern for the “homeliness” of the Church while making sure that actionability and “fairness” do not crowd out what is most important in the Church.
When asked about their experience of the Church, synodal meeting participants pointed to positive inegative aspects. Looking at the origins of these aspects, we discovered that what is good flows from a deep rooting in the Eucharist, and our shortcomings show up more where there is diminished concern for the Eucharist. Therefore, in the third part of this area, participants’ reflections indicating attitudes and actions aimed at experiencing and enjoying the fruits of the Eucharist more fully have been collected.
On the one hand, our basic positive experience is that God leads the Church, which persists despite crises, does not fail and gives a sense of security. The living Christ present in the sacraments and the preached Divine Word leads to conversion and resurrection. He, present in the sacraments, transforms our hearts empowering us to love and be merciful, and knowing that we have a spiritual background (holy communion), strengthens and gives confidence that we are walking the right path. The Lord God, whose beauty and harmony emerge from the work of creation, reveals His heavenly order to us in the Church through the beauty of the liturgy, which is preserved in the treasury of the Church’s Tradition guarded in the deposit of faith. Thus, in the Church, we can all learn a relationship with God and discover that despite the fact that everyone has different tasks (functional diversity) we are all equally, fully, beloved children of God (fundamental equality). In the Church we meet many people full of enthusiasm, able to live and share this joy with others. And this is because there are people here who have given their lives to God, and through this He has helped them find themselves and discover their true identity. This experience empowers relationships with people and makes them want to work on the quality of these relationships: they learn respect, understanding and communication. The practical dimension of such growth can be experienced in small formation communities. The source of the communities’ life is adoration, personal prayer, and the sharing of God’s Word, which empowers them to bear witness.
On the other hand, we are aware that the Church is made up of us sinners, and humanly speaking, we happen to deviate from the original intent of the Church. We are saddened by the lack of unity, the denial of Church teaching, disobedience and internal divisions. Perceived that today’s world is experiencing a crisis of relationships (e.g., divorce, non-sacramental relationships, lack of family relationships) and is dominated by the ideology of relativism, which fundamentally contradicts the doctrine of the Church. We lose our identity because we focus on what is weak,we lose the ability to see the good in the Church. We turn away from the Lord Jesus, and stare at sin. Lack of concern for the formation of both laymen and priests causes us not to take up the fight, but to choose mediocrity, laziness and convenience. The family does not pass on the faith, there is no adult catechesis, and as a result we are not firmly grounded in the foundation of faith, but easily succumb to ideologies that exclude God. Pride breeds the belief that “my way of professing faith is more pleasing to God.” The elitism thus created breeds a closed mentality among priests and the faithful. The result of such attitudes is a sense of rejection for those living in permanent circumstances that expose them to committing and persisting in sin. These people do not see openness and love in the Church, they do not recognize in us Jesus, who also wants to show them His mercy. The need for a more fraternal relationship rather than a servile dependence between priests and bishops, which would give rise to a less servile relationship between priests and laity, does not escape the attention of the faithful.
The faithful assess that the Church is not fully coping with functioning after publicized cases of sexual abuse situations involving minors. This casts the perception of priests and the priesthood through the prism of two extremes. The first is to deny the occurrence of the phenomenon in the Church, while the second is to generalize the problem and leave the Church. By removing the perspective of faith, we forget about the holiness of the Church and the special vocation of the priestly vocation in the Church. We forget that the Church is not only the clergy, but all the baptized, and that we are all responsible for each other. We also forget that we have a source in Jesus Christ, which disrupts unity, generates internal divisions and leads to criticism of the Church by church people.
Synod participants were reminded that the healing of every situation and every person in the Church is in the Eucharist. We saw that each of us has an impact on the beauty and quality of experiencing the liturgy. Increasingly lively faith will lead to an even deeper entry into Her. On the other hand, through lack of faith we allow a “show “instead of prayer. This belief skews the image of the liturgy and contributes to a confusion of the sacred and a desire for the priest to be more creative than the liturgical rubrics, in which God’s plan for the liturgy has been expressed.
The following is our perception of what hinders us from experiencing the Mass:
– Sin (state of sanctifying grace)
– Lack of quiet before and after Mass
– Focus on the person of the celebrant
– Lack of understanding of the essence of the Mass and the signs present in it (a rite and not a miracle)
– Dying faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist
– Failure of caregivers to respond to children’s behavior that significantly disrupts the liturgy
– Distracting other believers
– Unmuted phones
– Lack of adequate attire
– Lack of unity in liturgical signs (some standing, others kneeling)
– Haste and routine
– unprepared homilies
– Without valuable content (e.g.: without reliance on the Word of God)
– Sloppy celebration of the Eucharist by some priests, lack of preparation
– Priest’s inner difficulties
– Focusing attention on themselves by priests
– Long ads
– Lack of basic religious education for the faithful resulting in a lack of understanding of the various elements of the Eucharist
– Archaic texts in the liturgy
– Failure to prepare the liturgical service for its functions (lectors, psalmists, organists)
– Lack of adequate publicity
– Lack of an organist
– No heating
At the same time, those ways of participating in the Mass that lead to the transformation of our lives.
FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE BELIEVERS
– In sanctifying grace, go to confession regularly
– Do not be late – come early. Give yourself time to prepare before
Eucharist and thanksgiving, worship afterwards
– Focus – try to listen and understand each moment
– Realize the closeness to which Jesus invites us: Go “as if on a date with the Lord Jesus.”
– Leave to God what we bring, with a sense of human imperfection
– Entrusting personal intentions to God
– Realizing the need for a relationship with God
– To be aware of the miracle in which we participate
– Active participation – responses, singing, internal involvement
– Openness, listening attitude
– In unity with the other participants in the liturgy
FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OFCELEBRANS
– Finding time to prepare for
– Preparation of homilies – referring tohistory and examples from everyday life
– Paying attention to the act of penance at the beginning of the Mass – acknowledging one’s own weakness AND the Power of God
– Ask the Holy Spirit before the liturgy for a fruitful experience, such as through invocations to the Holy Spirit
conducted in the church before the liturgy begins?
– Conduct ongoing religious formation in the parish and open liturgical catechesis
– Aesthetics of the ceremony, surroundings (decoration of the church, chapel) and liturgical vestments
Below is an aggregate compilation of the collected voices in the key of the ten synodal issues. All statements were taken from the reports, emails and other voices presented, then reworked and adapted for this report. Each issue is preceded by a brief, general philosophical-theological-pastoral reflection, after which specific indications (conclusions) are written for further work in the synodal process in the Diocese of Plock, that is, steps to be taken in what has been discerned as the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Questions about celebration and liturgical life in the broadest sense were commented on and discussed, especially at the level of parish communities. This probably shows concern for a very concrete aspect of the Church’s life, which is the celebration of sacraments, sacramentals and services, through which the faithful participate spiritually and draw from the treasury of the Church, but also learn the faith according to the principle: lex orandi – lex credendi – lex vivendi.
- It was noted that there is a need today to explain to the faithful what the essence of the liturgy is, namely “worshiping the Father in Spirit and truth” (Jn 4:23). Its expression should not only be external rituals, grandeur of forms and rubric, but above all the formation of a spirit of prayer, concentration and sacrifice. Among the many challenges identified in this context was the proper moderation of the faithful’s approach to expressing remembrance of the dead through purchased flowers and candles. Maintenance of many cemeteries and waste management for many parish communities has become a cause of real financial hardship.
- Almost naturally, the need for a greater appreciation of the role of the laity in parish administration and pastoral care is manifested in the face of a drastically declining number of priestly vocations. It is necessary to review the current methods of awakening vocations and to ask the question about the role of the Higher Seminary in the whole diocese – it has always been an important theological, moral and pastoral reference point, especially in the permanent formation of priests. It is necessary to significantly strengthen and give a new spirit to the existing since the mid-20th century. Diocesan Vocation Center, which should go out especially to young people, altar servers and others involved in parish groups.
- The wisdom of the Church has always linked human concern with the liturgical year. In many parishes, effective and interesting forms of work with children and young people were pointed out: from Advent Rorats, services at the manger, to Stations of the Cross, palm contests and adoration of the Holy Sepulcher, May services, “white weeks” and rosary services.
- A disturbing phenomenon is the emerging ritualistic approach to the Mass, the instrumental treatment of canon law in the area of the celebration of the Holy Sacraments, as well as violations of Church law in matters of binning and trinction of the Mass. Many laymen have called for priests to pay more attention to the pious, unhurried celebration of the Eucharist, rather than concern for the associated Mass scholarship.
- Among the new (or modified from the past) forms of joint celebrations of feasts and liturgical solemnities are pointed out. Epiphany processions, Marches for Life and Family, spiritual adoption, indulgences combined with parish festivals, the Way of Light (Via lucis) during the Easter season.
- In an era of insensitivity to the sacred, it is necessary to teach, especially the young, to respect sacred things and places. What is needed today is a thorough liturgical catechesis, especially on how to observe silence, how to receive Holy Communion, always taking into account the current law of the Catholic Church in this matter. The Church should not be treated by the clergy and the faithful like a medicine cabinet or a supermarket where one can choose and buy whatever is currently needed. Rather, it is about an attitude of openness and readiness to feed on the Word and Body of the Lord in order to then carry Him to others, in priestly, religious and lay life.
- Catechesis: liturgical and mystagogical should open to the faithful the treasury of the Church’s faith and prayer, the variety of ways of celebrating the liturgy and mutual respect for those participating in it according to the law and always in union with the Successor of St. Peter. Peter. It is important to show the good fruits of the recent liturgical reform, while stigmatizing abuses in the matter. The request to surround the faithful attached to the ancient liturgy with greater pastoral care and to form them in the field of liturgical knowledge and proper liturgical spirituality resounded from the voices conveyed.
- Special care should be taken to involve the faithful in active and fruitful participation in the liturgy, including through the ministries and tasks they can fulfill. It is necessary to value lectors, psalterists, cantors, parish choirs and scholas, the orchestra, rosary circles, processional assists, confraternities and associations, and other formations that provide excellent opportunities to form the sensitivity and conscience of the faithful. Attention was given to the need for the formation of altar servers (children, youth and elders), extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, pastoral care of groups for women and men. A discussion at the diocesan level on the introduction of a permanent diaconate for men was also postulated.
- During retreats and missions, it is worth revisiting state teachings for fathers and mothers, which can be an opportunity to strengthen marital and family life.
- There have been calls from many parishes for the administration of the sacrament of Confirmation to be entrusted primarily and as a matter of principle to bishops. And in exceptional circumstances, it could be officiated by such respected priests who would be closer to the younger generation in age and realism of outlook.
- The problem of finding godparents was raised, so following the example of some dioceses in the world, a discussion of their necessity in the celebration of the sacrament of baptism was proposed.
- Attention was drawn to the need for a fundamental rethink of how the Church in Poland is funded. The current formula, associated with the celebration of the sacraments and other ministries, is a source of much misunderstanding and abuse.
The quality of celebration proved to be a very important topic of the synodal consultation. Liturgy is seen by most Synod participants as an important space for building community and growing in faith. Sunday Mass is the center of Christian life for them. A very large number of people expressed the belief that “the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is the most essential reality of the celebration,” and that “chapels of perpetual adoration are a response to an important need of the faithful.” The syntheses are a testament to the involvement of many lay people in the liturgy.
According to an equally large number of people, however, in many parishes the liturgy is still associated with “one-actor theater.” There is a lack of lay involvement. Most Synod participants noted the gradual obliteration of the sacred in the liturgy. In their view, “many priests do not focus on the rites they perform.” Many times the liturgy “glorifies man more than God.” There are too many added comments: greetings, thanks, personal interjections: “The liturgy is overplayed,” “There are too many announcements.” Synod participants also expressed a desire to rediscover a place for silence in the liturgy.
A small group has a clear expectation that girls and women should be more involved in the liturgy.
Taking into account not only the demands, but also a certain climate of opinion that makes itself known when reading the syntheses, it should be said that the Synod is a call for a liturgy that is beautiful and profound, contrasting with the banality in popular culture. It also expresses a desire to learn more about the liturgy.
Some people have expressed incomprehension about the Holy See’s actions toward circles associated with the so-called “socialist” movement. tridentine mass. In their view, the desire to participate in the Tridentine liturgy is born out of a search for a deeper experience of the Church’s prayer, in contrast to the all-too-frequent celebration of the so-called “Tridentine liturgy. The post-conciliar mass in a trivial way.
1.1.1 ‘Walking together’ is only possible if it is based on communal listening to the Word of God and celebrating the Eucharist
The common celebration of the sacraments unites people, builds a spiritual bond. Then it is easier to deepen faith, to engage later in the life of the Church. Community prayer gives spiritual strength, motivates people to live God’s life, and teaches prayerful brotherhood in “walking together.”
Faith today requires understanding, explanation, justification and example. The Eucharist can not be a theater, a spectacle, but a mystical event – here everything depends on the priest, he is the one who creates the atmosphere of the Eucharistic celebration, takes care of the liturgical action, but it is also worthwhile from time to time to remind, explain and make aware of the meaning of gestures, attitudes, symbols, so that the experience of Mass. was more informed. What is obvious to a priest is often not known or not fully understood by the laity.
All pastoral activities, as already mentioned, should be inspired by the prayer of the community and the Mass. – this provides guarantees of the presence of the Holy Spirit in action. It is worth frequently reminding and raising awareness of the need and importance of prayer: only prayer and the Eucharist help to discern and fulfill God’s will in the Church. In the words of St. John Paul II, quoted by a participant in the synodal consultations: “Not busy capitals are the decisive centers of world history and holiness; the real centers are the quiet places of prayer of the people. Where one prays, there one decides not only about our life after death, but also about the events of this world.”
The laity are ready to get involved in the Liturgy, as long as they have the predisposition to do so, are themselves convinced to such involvement, as well as have the consent of the clergy, who want the presence of the laity at the altar in the service of readings, psalm, prayers of the faithful.Involvement is generally fostered by pastoral encouragement – much depends on the priests of the parish in question, who should be positively disposed to such lay ministries: agreeable, friendly and open. Lay involvement is fostered by self-formation, by belonging to a specific parish group. Lay witness serves a community that “walks together.”
The Eucharist is the center of Christian life. Gathering around the table of Jesus Christ, we form a community with Him and among ourselves. Such an encounter with Christ gives birth to and strengthens synodality. Praying together deepens the human relationship and leads to a stronger adherence to Jesus Christ. The dignified celebration of Mass and services allows the faithful to better experience them. Of great importance here is the good level of preparation of the liturgical altar service, the schola and the organist’s singing. It is worth emphasizing that lay people should be involved in the celebrations to a greater extent, who, after proper preparation, can act as lectors or psalmists. An aid to formation could be, for example, catechesis held before Mass, which would explain the various parts of the liturgy, prayers, gestures, postures, etc. Worth noting are the liturgical teams that exist in parishes, where people deepen their understanding of the liturgy through proper formation, and by their service help others to experience it fruitfully. It is also advisable to prepare individually for the Eucharist by reading the Mass readings, commentaries on them in advance. Liturgical preparation also provides an excellent opportunity to listen to the needs of children, adolescents and adults and their perspective on the Church. From the celebration should also be born the need for evangelization among the sick, lonely, suffering and lost youth. Currently, there is a shortage of pastors who fearlessly want to work with young people who are not satisfied with some slogans and trivial assurances. Lacking the right approach to youth, there is a shortage of leaders who would take the trouble to mold the younger generation. Young people are looking for pastors who understand their problems and at the same time represent a world of values that attracts them. A good vibe and merriment are not enough. Young people often need help and a concrete development plan.
Common prayer and liturgical celebration are essential for deepening faith and forming right attitudes in life. All the faithful are invited to actively participate in the liturgy, and it is noticeable that more and more lay people are getting involved. However, there is still a large group of people who do not understand the need to be more fully involved in the celebration of the liturgy and remain mere “spectators.”
Living and understanding the liturgy well requires proper formation. Liturgical catechesis, e.g. before Mass, which would explain the various parts of the liturgy, prayers, gestures, postures, etc., could be helpful. Worth noting are the liturgical teams that exist in parishes, where people deepen their understanding of the liturgy through proper formation, and by their service help others to experience it fruitfully. It is also advisable to prepare individually for the Eucharist by reading the Mass readings, commentaries on them in advance.
- It is important to celebrate the Eucharist in community and prioritize it because it has a central place in the Church. There is still a need for Christian initiation into understanding and properly experiencing the liturgy of the Mass, so that it is a conscious, active and full encounter with God and the fraternity of the faithful.
- We see the need to further encourage participation in the liturgy and to actively engage in it. Priests can include people who regularly participate in the liturgy and encourage greater involvement through the liturgical altar service. We see in this aspect the opportunities offered by the inclusion of adults and young people in various liturgical functions.
- The beauty of the liturgy is an evangelizing sign. Liturgical service should be undertaken with deep faith and always after prior spiritual preparation.
- It is valuable to read the “Plock Catechism” or selected points from the CCC before Sunday Mass, which is a proven form of adult catechesis in parishes, also in other dioceses.
- We appreciate the value of proper musical accompaniment at daily and Sunday liturgies and church celebrations, including attention to the musical, spiritual and liturgical competence of organists, as well as care for organ maintenance.
The second meetings were held primarily in January and February 2022. These included 2 groups of questions (see Appendix 1). The questions dealt with the issue of liturgy – its importance in life and participation and service in the liturgy.
The prevailing sentiment among meeting participants was that liturgy is important and has a very strong impact on life. The need for greater attention to liturgical celebrations, especially the Sunday Eucharist, was commonly pointed out – this is “one of the most important challenges for the entire local community.” Participants in the meetings pointed out that verbal and non-verbal messages are important in celebrations (gestures, words, attitudes, vestments, temple decorations) hence there was often a call for greater care for the ars celebrandi of sacramental ministers. The need to eliminate the palpable haste and abbreviation of the Mass (e.g., chants limited to one stanza) was often signaled. There is even a general demand for well-prepared and conducted singing, which is “a good way to attract people.” There was also an expectation for proper and special liturgical settings, good lectors, organ playing, schola. Attention was given to the need for short homilies to be preached on a weekday, “daily at least a three-minute meditation on the Word of God.” Many synodal groups expressed the need for silence during the liturgy, which is simply lacking at the moment. There were repeated voices that the beauty from the liturgy needs to be brought out, rather than creating something new, “there is no need to beautify the liturgy, because it is beautiful in itself if we are aware of what we are really participating in.” The need for commentaries, liturgical introductions, introductions to the readings (mystagogy) was suggested. Similarly, liturgical catechesis was advocated: “There is a need to explain the symbols, signs, gestures and prayers at Mass.” Some groups pointed out the lack of understanding of the function of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. In many notes, the problem of receiving Holy Communion at the hand appeared, despite the fact that there were no questions from this area.
One notices a growing sense of the sacred among the faithful. This is confirmed by a number of synodal postulates indicating the need for constant concern for the beauty of the liturgy. It emphasized m. in. the need to properly prepare lectors to read God’s word with dignity and care. The vast majority, however, emphasized the dignified celebration of the liturgy in the diocese’s parishes. For example, it was noted that “in our local community, the liturgy is very carefully prepared. This is especially felt on Sundays, during holidays and celebrations. We greatly appreciate the effort to prepare it and are very moved by its beauty, which helps to experience more deeply the mystery of the Church” and “in our parish we care very much about the liturgy, many groups join in it. Liturgy is the litmus test of the life of faith.”
During the preparatory period of the Synod, when suggestions were collected on the issues that the Fifth SDT should address, liturgical issues were largely involved. It was the second area in terms of the number of incoming synodal demands.
The following is a synthesis of the various synodal themes. We have largely given voice to the participants in the synod meetings. Their statements are shown in italics.
22.214.171.124 Commitment to liturgy
There is a growing conviction among many that liturgy in parishes is not a matter solely for the parish priest. Hence the active involvement of the deaconess of the Word, the music deaconess, the liturgical deaconess and the decorative deaconess in the celebration of the liturgy. The introduction of the ministry of permanent acolytes in the parish, is appreciated by many parishes. Responses from meeting participants: Walking together manifests itself in praying together as a family, attending services and Masses. Listening to the Word of God and celebrating the Eucharist together gives us a sense of security. Nowadays, just admitting that we are practicing Catholics is a testimony to the propagation of the faith.
The proper, ever-deepening experience of the Eucharist and listening to the Word of God is influenced by various elements: the personality of the celebrant, the authenticity and joy of the meeting of the participants in the liturgy, the careful preparation of the liturgy, especially when it has a solemn character. The Eucharist is what unites the parish community and pastoral groups. Very often it was emphasized how important the involvement of lay people is for the deep experience of the Holy Liturgy, without whose participation its solemnity is not fully possible: the involvement of altar servers, acolytes, ceremonialists, lectors. Answers: It is also worth noting the active participation of children in the liturgical celebration. Their active involvement is needed because it develops their conscious participation in the life of the Church. However, for some ministries (e.g., lector) it is necessary to choose people prepared for this, . So that the beauty of the liturgy can also be experienced in the readings. It is also possible to meet voices: most of those who participated in the synodal meetings said that the ministry of acolyte is unnecessary and redundant in our parish community.
126.96.36.199 Liturgical formation
The need to form lay people in communities and groups is apparent. One of the synodal voices: Unfortunately, there are no communities in our parish where we can meet, deepen our faith and liturgical knowledge. The faithful are aware that not everyone understands the meaning and essence of each part of the Mass. Involvement in all moments of the Mass. must follow the line of eucharistic formation. The faithful want to experience the liturgy in an increasingly conscious way. In many places, there was a clear indication of the correlation of active and conscious participation in the liturgy and performance of liturgical functions with membership in associations and prayer groups. Answer: Does everyone have to be in the community to be a good Catholic? No, but participating in communities certainly brings people closer to God, makes it easier to understand God’s word under proper guidance.
It can be noted that “walking together” is only possible if it is based on communal hearing of the Word and celebration of the Eucharist, that in “walking together” it is helpful to participate in parish communities, that their existence in the parish ensures that parishioners can find their place, that preparing the liturgy together with the faithful ensures that parishioners participate more fully in its celebration. Despite the fact that many baptized Catholics still do not participate in the Church’s Liturgy, it is emphasized over and over again, the palpable power that the faithful derive from participating in it, which transforms the lives of those who are often only, it seems, passive participants.
Prayer and liturgical celebrations are important for every believer express the inner need, state of mind and love of man for God. The Eucharist is seen as a source of strength, hope, “recharging the batteries” for the days ahead, it is the meaning of life. Attention was paid to the communal dimension of the liturgy, while at the same time it was said to be an opportunity to deepen knowledge by introducing commentaries on the readings, learning to sing together (the role of singing in the liturgy) and explaining the catechism parts of the Mass, basic gestures and behavior during the liturgy. A proper, dignified celebration of the liturgy allows you to better experience it. Of great importance is the level represented by the liturgical altar service, schola, organist. Active participation in the liturgy inspires volunteerism, parish activity, and self-work. The reports indicated areas where further work is still needed in the parishes concerned, so that the liturgy is prepared, beautiful and well-kept, becomes a participation of all, so that it is not celebrated in a routine, hurried manner, and so that it is not “overplayed”, both by clergy and laity. In this regard, attention was paid to the language and content of the homilies.
Reports indicate that pastors often invite the faithful – in one-on-one conversations and in parish announcements – to actively participate in the liturgy and to perform liturgical functions. Most parishes have an elaborate liturgical altar service, there are scholas, choirs, but also in many parishes a crisis in their operation was found. At the same time, it is noted that there is still too little involvement of the faithful in the liturgy. What is needed, therefore, is openness and formation: clarification of the participation and place of the laity (including women) in the liturgy, so that the laity are more fully and actively involved in the liturgy within the framework of the law. Many of the faithful suggest catechesis to deepen the knowledge of the faithful in matters of liturgy.
The ministry of lector and acolyte (mostly men) is rooted in some of our parishes: in the Warsaw archdiocese there is a large group of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Those doing ministry permanently. In addition, in many parishes, pastors invite women and men to actively participate in the liturgy, such as reading the readings. Our archdiocese still lacks women ministers of Holy Communion.
It is important to note the frequent demands of some of the faithful for a return to tradition. In the aspect of celebration, the need for Holy Communion was often pointed out. to the mouth and the prohibition of giving it by the hand; to allow the faithful to participate in the Tridentine Mass as that form which, in the context of frequent liturgical neglect, ensures the quality and sanctity of the celebration while sanctifying the participants. Many people have expressed opposition and pain in the face of the Holy See’s recent decisions to limit the use of the extraordinary rite in the liturgy.
It was emphasized here that an important role in the formation of the parish community as a religious community is played by the Eucharist, which should be the center of the spiritual life of the Christian. Listening to the word of God is also invariably important and necessary.
It also noted that there is a growing devaluation of the understanding of the sacraments and sacramental life. It was noted that such events as a child’s baptism, first Holy Communion. or wedding, become an occasion primarily for family gatherings, and experiencing the ceremony in the church takes on a commercial and media character. The most important thing becomes gifts and a lavish party, often out of sync with the occasion of the meeting. The reasons are attributed to a declining awareness and knowledge of the sacraments and sacramental life.
Similarly, concerns were expressed about the appropriate attire of Mass participants, saying that they lacked a sense of the sacred, the closeness of God who comes to man during the Eucharist and other sacraments. Once again, emphasis was placed on the need for proper formation of youth and parents. The need for mystatogical catechesis rang out clearly. Conferences for parents of children preparing to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, Confirmation or First Holy Communion, as well as other occasions, can be an opportunity for this.
It was suggested that in preparation for Confirmation, indexes, which are associated with school obligations, should be abandoned. On the one hand, they are a motivation, but on the other hand, they are the sole purpose of coming to church. The candidates’ attention is focused on collecting signatures, not on experiencing the liturgy. However, there are also voices among the confirmands themselves that the indexes motivate them and thus allowed them to discover previously unknown services or mobilized them to go to church regularly. Another way than indexes, for example, could be to involve candidates during the liturgy – such as being on duty during Mass. (reading of the readings, prayers of the faithful, carrying of the gifts, etc.).
Immediately before Confirmation, an interview with the Confirmation candidate is needed, but it should not be in the nature of an exam, which is negatively associated with school reality. This should be a conversation summarizing the work of the pre-confirmation meetings, the candidate’s feelings, his convictions about confirmation, his motivations for receiving this sacrament, his expectations and plans for his future path in the Church.
During the confirmation itself, it is worth keeping a “golden mean” between the concern for correctness and the experience of the event. It is possible to keep it when the candidates are well prepared for what will happen – this can happen during the rehearsals for confirmation. It is also worth taking care to prepare (by attending the rehearsal) witnesses and parents. During the event itself, it should emphasize the importance of the event more and focus on experiencing it the right way, rather than whether everything will turn out well, which should be taken care of beforehand.
Also reported was the need for a more conducive atmosphere for experiencing Mass with dignity. (more silence, confession before Mass, a short, thoughtful homily to help understand more about the word heard or giving a brief summary thought at the distribution, learning new songs before Mass).
It also noted the increasing involvement of the laity in the liturgy: lectors, psalterers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. It was stressed that formation meetings in groups, such as Bible circles, etc., are helpful in building such an attitude.
Attention was also paid to the experience of Sunday, which should be a day spent with the family, intended to strengthen family ties. Celebration of Sunday Mass. should have its extension in the family home.
It is worth noting the request of deaf people participating in the synod path, who point out the need to learn sign language among priests or seminarians so that deaf people can more easily benefit from the sacraments.
It was noted that currently in the Church, people attached to tradition remain on the margins. Opposition has been expressed to the Holy See’s decision to restrict the use of the extraordinary rite in the liturgy.
Liturgy is widely pointed to by Synod participants as a source of unity and growth for each community, an opportunity to experience the closeness and mystery of God. The Eucharist builds up the Church, it also allows us to feel a part of it and helps us open up to each other. This happens primarily when it is well prepared, carefully celebrated, and the faithful understand the meaning of the rites in which they participate and can engage in them. Otherwise, the Eucharist for many becomes a one-actor theater, a boring tradition that does not harmonize with daily life. This is not remedied by an adequate number of masses for the desires of the faithful. There is a strong call for an experience of the sacred, the way to which is greater attention to liturgy at all levels.
There is a need for catechesis to deepen understanding of the liturgy and enable conscious participation in it. It is very important to encourage all the faithful (regardless of age and gender) to become actively involved within the framework of existing opportunities, because “the liturgy is a place where the laity can speak up and testify to their faith.” There are desires to introduce the ministry of lector and acolyte in our diocese. The formation of the Liturgical Altar Service also needs to be significantly improved, as in many small parishes this formation is no longer functioning.
For a profound experience of the Eucharist, the attitude of the celebrant himself is important: concentration, lack of haste, preservation of silence, well-prepared homily or sermon delivered in language that is understandable to those present, adapted to the level of experience of the addressees and in accordance with the Church’s teaching, no “cult of announcements” and avoidance of unnecessary digressions.
There are desires for at least one Sunday Eucharist to be celebrated in a more solemn manner, and for pastors to take into account the sensitivity and capabilities of the individual faithful by preparing Masses addressed to different groups, e.g., youth, people with more traditional needs, children. A proper, prayer-friendly musical setting is important.
The need to take greater care in communicating God’s word – to read it clearly with understanding and to explain it – has been repeatedly stressed. For many of the faithful, Mass is the only opportunity to hear and receive God’s Word, so there is a need – even on weekdays – for homilies that are comprehensible, uplifting and show the connection between the Word and the listeners’ daily lives.
There is a widespread desire for regular adoration of the Blessed Sacrament experienced in whole or in part in silence, with priests keeping vigil together with the faithful. It is important to create small prayer groups that provide support for personal prayer and background for evangelization works in the parish and diocese.
Just as teaching prayer and participation in the liturgy begins in the family, the communal, joyful experience of the liturgy largely depends on the quality of interpersonal relationships in the parish. Anonymity, the lack of opportunities for informal meetings after the celebration, the sometimes occurring lack of unity among pastors, make the experience of unity during the liturgy much more difficult. In such situations, when, in addition, there is a lack of understanding of the meaning of the Eucharist and the significance of the Word of God, the mission of the community ceases to be inspired and guided by it.
Liturgical celebrations should be beautiful yet modest. Do not overdo it. Dragging out endless thanks, addressed to successive categories of participants during particularly solemn celebrations, serves no purpose and only builds distance.
Participant in the diocesan synod
In recent years, the liturgical service of the altar has opened up to the elderly, which is, as it were, a consequence of the aging population. Our parish community has had an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion for several years. At first, the faithful received this fact with curiosity and distrust. Today they are fully convinced of such a function in our community and are increasingly expressing interest in it. Perhaps in the near future more people will take up this honorable position.
A voice from a rural parish
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The involvement of the lay faithful in the celebration of the liturgy is too small. They themselves notice this and at the same time declare that they would like to change it. They expect to be given various functions and tasks to perform in the liturgical assembly, such as proclaiming the readings in the liturgy of the Word, reading the invocations of the prayers of the faithful, and leading the singing. Pastors should talk to their parishioners about the liturgy and entrust the laity with those functions for which they are prepared and willing to perform. There is a need for liturgical catechesis, aimed at the general faithful, and special courses to prepare altar servers, lectors, precentors, churchwardens and sacristans.
In parishes where several Masses are celebrated in the same church on Sundays, at least one of them should have a more solemn character. The liturgy should readily make use of signs that emphasize the solemn nature of the celebration, such as, for example, the ointment. It is advisable to use them more often, even every Sunday, and not only on the occasion of major celebrations.
Need to standardize the rules of celebration in all churches in the diocese. All the faithful should be acquainted with these rules, especially those involved in various liturgical ministries.
Liturgical participants complain about liturgical shortcomings and errors. They are particularly blatant about celebrating Mass. in a hurry, shortening the liturgy, celebrants being late and starting the liturgy several minutes after the appointed time, lack of diction and proper preparation in lectors, resulting in unclear reading of sacred texts without understanding their content, preaching homilies that are too short, general, not based on biblical texts, lacking examples and not very engaging.
The synodal reflection also revealed a relatively strong presence among the faithful of a “traditionalist” or “conservative” trend in the approach to the liturgy. This environment is demanding, for example, that Communion be made mandatory. “kneeling and to the mouth,” does not accept other forms. This leads to strong polarization and tensions within parish communities.
In addition to the liturgy, other types of celebrations are needed, various forms of popular piety, both traditional and new, for example, the so-called worship evenings or services with prayer for healing, giving the opportunity to use the charisms granted by the Holy Spirit.
The Church always emphasizes the role of community prayer, and considers the Eucharist to be its highest form. Considering the number of Catholics attending Sunday Mass, one gets the impression that awareness of the importance of the Eucharist in the life of a Christian is low. There is also insufficient knowledge of the various elements of the liturgy, which is why catechism sermons are postulated to explain them. Regarding the sacrament of baptism, it was noted that its reception often has little impact on the Christian life.
A real appreciation of the role of the laity is the ministry of lector and acolyte. A milestone is the admission of women to these ministries. From the experience of many lay people, the spiritual fruits of their active participation in the liturgy are remarkable. Attention was paid to the attitude of the priest celebrating the Eucharist, his attention to the preparation of the Mass, concentration, preparation of the homily. Also important are properly chosen hymns, preparation for the lector’s service, silence during Mass. In addition to traditional services, it is worth introducing other forms of prayer that would involve young people more.
A lot of time has been devoted to analyzing the religious formation of children and young people. Progress and greater involvement of the clergy in caring for the younger generation was noted. It also stressed that often the fault in their poor formation lies with their parents, who are often not themselves the best example to follow. High school students participating in the meetings suggested the need to change the form of catechization, which they consider inadequate for modern times, and were critical of the requirements for being admitted to the sacrament of Confirmation.
List of synodal topics
W Kościele i w społeczeństwie jesteśmy na tej samej drodze, ramię w ramię.
Kiedy mówimy „nasz Kościół”, to kogo mamy na myśli? Kto w naszym Kościele „podąża razem”? Kto oczekuje, aby bardziej ku niemu wyjść i zaprosić go do wspólnej drogi wiary? Jakie osoby lub grupy są zaniedbane i nie objęte troską o to, by iść razem drogą wiary i stanowić jedną wspólnotę Kościoła?
Zestawienie odpowiedzi na te pytania zawarte w syntezach diecezjalnych.
Słuchanie jest pierwszym krokiem, ale wymaga otwartego umysłu i serca, bez uprzedzeń.
Czy umiemy słuchać siebie nawzajem w naszym Kościele? Czyj głos jest pomijany lub za mało słyszany? Z jakiego powodu? Czy potrafimy określić uprzedzenia i stereotypy, które utrudniają nam słuchanie innych? Czy z otwartym umysłem i sercem umiemy wsłuchiwać się w poglądy inne niż nasze; także osób spoza wspólnoty Kościoła?
Wszyscy są zaproszeni do mówienia z odwagą i zaufaniem, to znaczy łącząc wolność, prawdę i miłość.
Czy w Kościele nasz/mój głos ma znaczenie i czy znajdujemy przestrzeń do wypowiedzi i bycia wysłuchanym? Czy czujemy, że przemawiający w naszym imieniu faktycznie reprezentują także nas? Jaki mamy na to realny wpływ?
„Wspólna droga” jest możliwa tylko wtedy, gdy opiera się na wspólnotowym słuchaniu Słowa Bożego i sprawowaniu Eucharystii.
Czy liturgiczne celebracje i doświadczenie wspólnotowej modlitwy w naszym Kościele mają realny wpływ na moją/naszą praktykę codziennego życia: decyzje, wybory, inspiracje? Czy czujemy się zaproszeni do czynnego (praktycznego) zaangażowania w liturgię, czy też pozostawia nam się rolę „widza”? Czy sami pielęgnujemy w sobie pragnienie zaangażowania? Czy przeżywanie liturgii umacnia i motywuje mnie/nas do podjęcia misji ewangelizacji?
Synodalność służy misji Kościoła, do udziału w której powołani są wszyscy jego członkowie.
Czy mamy świadomość, że jako ochrzczeni wszyscy jesteśmy powołani do misji ewangelizowania? Co nas hamuje w podejmowaniu tej misji i wspieraniu w niej innych: w nas samych, w środowisku życia, we współczesnej kulturze?
Dialog wymaga wytrwałości i cierpliwości, ale umożliwia także wzajemne zrozumienie.
W jaki sposób w naszym Kościele rozwiązywane są konflikty i trudności wynikające z różnicy poglądów, dążeń, oczekiwań? Czy dialog jest naszym sposobem wychodzenia z tych problemów? Jak w tym kontekście wygląda współpraca różnych instytucji, organizacji i ruchów kościelnych? Czy umiemy uczyć się form dialogu od instytucji niekościelnych? Czy dialog jest również przestrzenią naszego spotkania z wyznawcami innych religii i zniewierzącymi?
Dialog między chrześcijanami różnych wyznań, zjednoczonymi przez jeden chrzest,
zajmuje szczególne miejsce na drodze synodalnej.
Jakie relacje ma nasza wspólnota kościelna z członkami innych tradycji chrześcijańskich i wyznań? Co nas łączy i jak razem podążamy? Jakie owoce przyniosło nam wspólne podążanie? Jakie są trudności? Jak możemy zrobić następny krok we wspólnym podążaniu naprzód?
Kościół synodalny jest Kościołem uczestniczącym i współodpowiedzialnym.
Kto w naszym Kościele podejmuje decyzje i czego one dotyczą? Czy jest to wyłącznie forma indywidualnego przewodniczenia czy jest też w tym wymiar wspólnotowy? Czy istnieje współpraca zespołowa i czy w tym kontekście promowane jest zaangażowanie świeckich, np. w radach duszpasterskich i ekonomicznych, w kierowaniu wspólnotami? Czy jesteśmy gotowi podjąć się współodpowiedzialności za podejmowane decyzje i działania?
Na drodze synodalnej podejmujemy decyzje poprzez rozeznawanie tego, co Duch Święty mówi przez całą naszą wspólnotę.
Jak rozumiemy to, że Kościół jest hierarchiczny a nie demokratyczny? Czy w tak zorganizowanym Kościele widzimy miejsce dla wspólnego rozeznawania i podejmowania decyzji całego ludu Bożego wraz z pasterzami? Jak możemy wzrastać we wspólnotowym rozeznawaniu duchowym?
Synodalność pociąga za sobą otwartość na zmiany, formację i ciągłe uczenie się.
Jak formowane są osoby, zwłaszcza te, które pełnią odpowiedzialne funkcje we wspólnocie chrześcijańskiej, aby były bardziej zdolne do słuchania i dialogu, rozeznawania? Czy mamy świadomość odpowiedzialności za własną nieustanną formację do odpowiedzialności i misji ewangelizacyjnej w Kościele?