Summary of Synod proceedings in the dioceses

Diocese of Kaliska

Diocesan synthesis

The task given to us by Pope Francis to look at the common path was undertaken with responsibility and courage. To bring about an effective consultation process, a team had to be identified to coordinate the work in the diocese. The diocesan synodal council included clergy, laity and consecrated persons from various backgrounds. The team began its work by conducting a mutual listening session in-house.

The first observations led to the conviction that talking about the Church is much needed, that it responds to the deep desires of living the faith. Based on this sharing, questions were formulated that formed the starting point for the synodal consultation. The main question was who am I and how do I feel about the Church? What brings me the most joy and what makes me sad? What do I miss the most?

Each parish has been required to organize its own parish synodal team, so as to involve as many people as possible. It was the participation of laymen from these teams that was supposed to make it possible to reach the periphery. This was not an easy task, as people from the periphery of the Church were not too interested in participating in the synod.

The teams were tasked with preparing a synodal meeting in the parishes, which took the form of a real meeting. It was recommended that three such consultations be held, each preceded by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. At the diocesan level, about 0.2% of the population participated in the synod. The participation of people who sincerely care about the welfare of the Church deserves special attention. To a large extent, these are people involved in parish activities, but not only. People not affiliated with any community or movement also came to the synod meetings.

The most significant thing about the entire consultation process was the fact that a space was created for a frank conversation about the Church and faith. Despite the functioning of church structures, pastoral groups, the opportunity to exchange ideas is actually very modest. The topic was brought up, prompting steps to meet and listen to each other. This led to the breaking of the previously existing stereotype that divided the Church between clergy and laity. An analysis of the various parish syntheses also reveals a certain consistency in looking at the Church. The faithful, participating in the synodal meetings, see virtually the same good as well as weak points in the functioning of the Church, which is a clear signal of the work of the Holy Spirit, moving the hearts of Christians to even greater concern and commitment to renew the face of the community of Christ’s disciples.

The lay parish coordinators, who took on the task with great responsibility, proved to be a strong point in the process, which resulted in the process being carried out at the parish level. Many of them read their task as a mission and carried it out in the spirit of Christian vocation. These attitudes are most noteworthy. The engagement unleashed a joy that proved greater than the original fear of taking on the task. The weak point undoubtedly was the difficulty in reaching people on the periphery of the Church. It is also sad that about 40% of parishes have not taken the synodal path in their community.

The greatest fruit of the Holy Spirit is openness to one another and to oneself. Participants were able to see that differences in perceptions of faith need not be an obstacle, but a richness that everyone brings. It was especially likely to be experienced by those who expressed criticism of the phenomena taking place in the bosom of the Church. Although this led to tensions, no one was disrespected. Among the topics that caused tensions were: the functioning of the church administration, the attitude towards people from the periphery of the church, or people who do not belong to the community of believers. It is to be hoped, however, that the synodal meetings will not only be a beautiful page in the history of the parish, but that they have helped to set the process in motion and will become a permanent trend, the normal way parish communities function.

Among the feedback from local meetings, the most surprising observation was that some of the faithful have concerns about talking to their priests about the faith. The reason for this is the fear that they will be judged as people of little faith, or that their faith is weak. This is a kind of paradox, something that should not happen, because priests should help the faithful in the faith, not be a source of fear (distancing shepherds from the sheep). This shows how necessary it is to build trust and break down the barriers that keep the faithful from deepening their faith.

The faithful expect from priests not only a clear and transparent testimony of faith, expertise and competence in spiritual life. A frequent signal, reflecting the needs of parishioners, is the need for ongoing adult formation, catechesis to introduce and explain the truths of the faith, making them both more understandable and closer to human existence. This is a pressing need, because an analysis of the synodal statements, which is a panorama of the local Church (both urban and rural) reveals a dangerous superficiality in understanding and professing the faith. A reflection on the Church and the place of a particular person in this community exposes the poverty of faith, limited only to a certain sloganism (beautiful, noble, but only sloganism). Behind them are general biblical-theological (e.g., child of God) or vocational (e.g., husband/wife, priest) phrases, emphasizing the importance and subjectivity of each person. Behind these facade terms, however, there is a lack of depth, evident in the life of a particular person. Very many people profess faith, but do not live it at the level of the heart. Faith does not touch their lives, its essence. Hence the strong need, cry and emphasis that should be placed on the mystagogy of faith, its interiorization. Undoubtedly, the world has been saved by God, but man has not been made happy because – so often – he has not accepted the fruits of this salvation.

Another “paradox” is the voice that says that the Church lacks a place for the Good News! It would seem to be an unthinkable thing. And yet, he resounded and pointed out that Jesus is missing from the Church! There is a perception in society that life should be simplified, and that knowing or finding God is a process that takes time. In the age of consumerism, building a relationship with God is relegated to the background, because the tangible benefits are not immediately apparent. It also reflects negatively on people’s involvement in pastoral groups and daily parish life. Simplifications, shortcuts, apparent “going easy” on some, ultimately reflect badly on the process of deepening and strengthening the faith. Consequently, giving up the truth leads to the belief that one is giving up God. There is a risk of pushing the Church into the role of providing religious services. The restoration of God in the Church seems to be something completely unexpected. Although everyone is chasing “this world,” there is a deep longing in his heart for community. This is the path that needs to be taken so that there is no shortage of believers in the Church.

Accordingly, a strong emphasis in the synodal statements was placed on the fundamental dimension of the Church’s mission, evangelization (re-evangelization). The need to be open to people, regardless of their views; to accompany people, especially those experiencing difficulties, stressing the need for empathy, time and attention, was indicated. The Church’s mission, the synod participants stressed, is also expressed in patient dialogue and listening. From the statement also emerges some specific dream that the Church should resemble as much as possible the one described in the Acts of the Apostles, and become a home where everyone can feel “at home.”

Particularly significant is the fact that no parish report has ever said that what unites the faithful in the Church is investment or material matters. Although this is how many perceive the functioning of the parish, the material factor ultimately turns out not to be that important.

However, the reports very often included an element somewhat related to the financial side, namely, the faithful emphasize the great importance of beauty, opening to transcendence. The beauty of architecture, art, attention to the liturgy, are undoubtedly this space of the Church’s life, which allows people to experience the sacrum, to enter into the presence of God.

Among the voices talking about the difficult sides of the Church, those pointing to the lack of transparency within the Church are predominant. Many don’t want to enter into the conversation claiming that the church administration needs to clean up its act at home. Smaller parish communities suffer from a lack of support from the diocesan curia. These areas are most in need of healing. The faithful are aware that since the Church is a family it is not perfect, because families are not perfect either. But they are solving problems together.

A sore point for many parents is the difficulty of passing on the faith to their children. The influence of factors from the world is so strong that it is difficult to resist. The search for ways and means to evangelize children and youth is a challenge that will not be easily met.

In this context, it is worth recalling – mentioned above – the urgent need for catechesis of adults, who themselves, properly formed, will be able to properly form and educate their own children in the faith. Evangelization of children and adolescents is essential, but are we not devoting more time, attention and energy to it, at the expense of re-evangelization and formation of adults. With parents well grounded in the faith, we will also have children and young people.

Many people have taken up the topic of the synod with hopes for change. However, they are not concerned with changes regarding the loosening of moral norms, as discussed in the media. Above all, the faithful want there to be more “Church within the Church.” Even at the cost of abandoning acumen and ad hoc parish activities to deepen piety, living the Gospel and the Eucharist.

Rev. Witold Kalmucki
Rev. Dariusz Kulinski


The experience of these synodal meetings is the experience of caring for the Church together, also facing together what is difficult in our communities, but with love, with the desire to seek the good, to look for good solutions,” said Bishop of Kalisz Damian Bryl.

He presided over the Mass. At St. Peter’s Cathedral. The event was held at St. Nicholas Church in Kalisz as part of the conclusion of the diocesan stage of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

Talking about the Church is not complaining

Before Mass, a report on the work of the Diocesan Synodal Team was presented by Fr. Witold Kalmucki, who noted that the implementation of the synodal path began with the appointment by the Bishop of Kalisz on October 17, 2021. Diocesan Synodal Team.

– The team was composed of people who care about the Church, who sincerely seek the truth about it. Each member of the team has his own experience of faith and belonging to the Church. We began the work of the team by sharing the answer to the question “what does our path together look like?”. Our first discovery was that although we didn’t all know each other before, we experienced closeness when talking about faith and the Church. We quickly realized that talking about the Church is not complaining and criticizing, but a diligent search for tools to bring out the truth,” noted the chairman of the Diocesan Synodal Team.

The team was tasked with preparing materials that were an aid to experiencing the synod. Another important step was the training of parish and community coordinators, which took place in four locations in the diocese. Each parish was required to appoint a parish coordinator for synodal work. A total of 177 representatives attended the meetings.

– Syntheses were received from 128 parishes and communities. More detailed conclusions will be included in the diocesan synthesis. We already know that some parishes have decided to make meetings in this form a permanent part of the rhythm of pastoral work. This is also how we see our continued work as a synodal team,” stressed Fr. Kalmutsky.

Testimonies of experiencing the synod were also shared by parish coordinators.

Bishop Bryl: joy shared is always double joy

In his homily, the Bishop of Kalisz thanked those involved in the synodal work. – Many thanks to you dear ones for being coordinators, animators of these meetings. Today I would like to express my respect and gratitude to each and every one of you for taking this path. It is a beautiful experience that so many parishes and communities participated in the synod, but it is a bit sad that some did not take up the experience,” the celebrant said. He encouraged the faithful to make this synod experience the lifestyle of communities. – The experience of these synodal meetings is the experience of caring for the Church together, also facing together what is difficult in our communities, but with love, with the desire to seek the good, to look for good solutions,” the preacher argued.

He asked the coordinators to radiate a good lifestyle to others. – Let us care about the quality of our communities so that together we can bring the good news to the world. We are all invited to do so. Let’s tell others what a great thing it is to be close to Jesus, what a beautiful thing it is to be in His Church. Joy shared is always double joy,” said Bishop Bryl.

The worldwide event, under the theme “Toward a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission,” is unique. For the first time, it includes three phases: local, continental and universal, staggered until October 2023.


Summaries of the synodal process in other dioceses, parishes and the perspective of participants in synodal meetings

Archidiecezja Gnieźnieńska

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Kiedy po raz pierwszy usłyszałem, że papież Franciszek zamierza przeprowadzić w całym Kościele szerokie konsultacje przed synodem, który ma odbyć się w 2023 roku, miałem ambiwalentne uczucia. Z jednej strony radość, że papież dojrzał taką potrzebę, a jak wynikało z opublikowanych dokumentów, domaga się przeprowadzenia takich konsultacji wszędzie i to bardzo szeroko, zapraszając potencjalnie każdego. Z drugiej strony nieufność, że organizujące spotkania duchowieństwo zrobi wszystko, aby nic dobrego z tego nie wyszło. Te obawy mam zresztą nadal i czas pokaże, czy są nieuzasadnione. Nie o tym jednak chciałem pisać. Zaskakująco dla mnie samego coś innego wydarzyło się we mnie w trakcie samego procesu.

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