Summary of Synod proceedings in the dioceses

Diocese of Legnica

Diocesan synthesis (PDF version below)

DIOCESAN SYNTHESIS
The synthesis presented below concerns the course of the Synod on synodality
at the diocesan stage of the Diocese of Legnica

On October 24, 2021. At the Legnica Cathedral of St. Saints Apostles Peter and Paul Bishop Andrzej Siemieniewski solemnly announced the start of the diocesan stage of the 16th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on October 9-10 this year. was convened by Pope Francis in Rome. The watchword for the synodal process that has begun is the call: Toward a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.

The fact that the diocesan stage began was preceded by a special request from the Bishop of Legnica to all diocesans. Bishop Siemieniewski wrote: “I ask the priests to recite together with the faithful the prayer Adsumus Sancte Spiritus for the intention of the Synod after each Mass. this Sunday. I very much ask all diocesans to recommend the Synod to God’s providence also in individual prayer” (“Legnica Diocesan News” 33:2021 no. 4 p. 58).

Guided by the documents prepared by the Holy See, especially the Synod’s Vademecum on Synodality, or the Official Manual for Listening and Discernment in Local Churches, the first decision of the Bishop of Legnica was to appoint a diocesan contact person. By a nomination decree (L.dz. 1211/2021), the Bishop of Legnica appointed a person (Fr. Boguslaw Drozdz) responsible for synodal consultation.

The first task of the diocesan contact person was to read the Preparatory Document for the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, followed by the aforementioned Vademecum. The two documents had to be analyzed in the context of the speeches of Pope Francis (18.09.2021; 9.10.2022), the homily delivered (10.10.2021), the Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis Communio On the Synod of Bishops (15.09.2018) and the document of the International Theological Commission on Synodality in the Life and Mission of the Church (2.03.2018).

To learn about the synod’s methodology, the diocesan contact person, also known as the coordinator, communicated with coordinators of other dioceses and archdioceses in Poland. This was done especially during monthly consultation meetings organized by the SAC Institute of Catholic Church Statistics.

An important diocesan event of a formative and informative nature was the district meetings organized by the Pastoral Department of the Legnica Bishop’s Curia, which brought together almost all the pastors of the Legnica Diocese. They were held in three locations: Legnica (25.10.2021), Jelenia Gora (27.10.2021) and Boleslawiec (28.10.2021). A special guest at these meetings was Prof. Aleksander Bańka, delegate of the Church in Poland to the Synod of Bishops. The program of these meetings included: prayer, an extended introduction to synodal themes presented by the Bishop of Legnica, a lecture by an invited guest, followed by discussion.

The Synod’s Vademecum on Synodality recommended that before the formulation of the final synthesis, a so-called “synod ” should be organized in the diocese. presynodal meeting. In the Diocese of Legnica, the gathering covered four stages. It can be said that there were four mini presynodal meetings. The first of these meetings included clerics who, by bishop’s decision, occupy leading positions in church institutions in the Diocese of Legnica. Among those in attendance were. employees of the Legnica Bishop’s Curia headed by the moderator, superiors of the Theological Seminary headed by the rector, employees of Legnica Caritas headed by the director. On 7/12/2021. Nearly 25 people attended the meeting at the Bishop’s House.

The second meeting in the nature of a mini presynodal meeting was held on 10/12/2021. At the Tchaikovsky Meeting Center. John Paul II in Legnica. All pastors of the Diocese of Legnica, including religious, were invited to this meeting. Attendance was not mandatory. It was important that people interested in the Synod attend the meeting. Nearly 50 clergy representing almost all the deaneries attended the meeting.

The third meeting brought together lay Catholics representing the world of ecclesiastical associations operating in our diocese, people involved in parishes, most often belonging to Parish Councils, as well as unaffiliated people or outright residents of Legnica. The meeting brought together nearly 100 people. The venue for the meeting was the F. S. E. G. Meeting Center. John Paul II in Legnica. The meeting was held on 8.01.2022.

The final, fourth presynodal mini-meeting also took place at the Martin Luther King Meeting Center. John Paul II in Legnica. On 22.01.2022. 35 people attended. It was intended as a youth meeting, nevertheless, understandably, quite a number of young people came with their catechists or guardians. There were youth representations from all schools run by religious orders in our diocese, also scouts or young people belonging to the Catholic Youth Association.

All of the above presynodal meetings followed a pre-prepared program. They began with the Adsumus Sanctae Spiritus prayer, followed by a word from the Bishop of Legnica, then an introduction by the coordinator, who, after providing the context for the synodal main and accompanying questions, encouraged participants to speak freely, bear witness and participate in the dialogues. The emerging discussion was overly inspired by biblical texts, especially those from the Acts of the Apostles. The entirety of the meetings was then synthesized by the coordinator and, through the closing word of the Bishop of Legnica, elevated to the status of a jointly experienced divine gift to the local Church, which through communion, participation and mission is to carry out with increasing zeal the salvific task of Jesus Christ. The final chord of the meetings was a joint Prayer to Mary for the New Evangelization of the Diocese of Legnica, referring to the First Synod of the Diocese of Legnica (2007-2012), and the blessing of the Bishop of Legnica. The presynodal meetings under discussion were announced in advance with the help of diocesan media. By design, these were not closed meetings that could exclude anyone in advance. In addition, the fact that they were carried out, along with the reporting information, was made public. The meeting agenda also included time for a meal.

For the sake of the report as a whole, it should be noted that the diocesan contact person, in consultation with the Bishop of Legnica, has sent a special letter to all parish priests encouraging them to have a so-called “parochial meeting” in each parish community. synodal meeting, which, in addition to the Parish Council, will bring together representatives of all church associations (groups, communities, movements and associations), as well as people more involved in the life of the parish. The letter noted that the purpose of the meeting to be held is to experience the Church together, and the prayer, reflection and exchange of ideas undertaken is to appreciate the existing, as well as to release a multiplied co-responsibility for the entire parish community, which above all is a communion of faith, worship and love.

Special letters were also sent to the deanery priests. They too, on behalf of the Bishop of Legnica, were encouraged by the coordinator to hold a so-called synodal meeting, which would bring together all the priests working in the individual parishes of one deanery. The two letters presented above recalled the basic documents of the Synod, as well as directly posed the general question: “The synodal Church, in proclaiming the Gospel, is “walking together.” How is this “walking together” being realized in your local Church today? What steps does the Holy Spirit invite us to take so that we grow in our ‘walking together’?” (DP 26; VS 5, 3). It was also asked that the fruit of the organized meetings be suggestions, reflections or postulates on the life of the Church in the specific environmental conditions of the parishes concerned, forwarded to the coordinator’s office.

The formal presentation of the diocesan stage of the Synod on synodality is the basis for the substantive side of the measures taken. The first and main topic of all meetings was diocesan anniversaries, which in turn became an additional inspiration, also a context, for all the other issues that characterize the experience of the local Church. These are the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Diocese of Legnica and the 25th anniversary of the Diocese of Legnica. anniversary of the presence of the Holy Father John Paul II in Legnica, with which was connected the coronation of the Krzeszów image of Our Lady of Grace. It is also necessary to take into account two high-profile events that mark the discussion being undertaken about the local Church in the key of “going together.” The imposing theme, still relevant, is the First Synod of the Diocese of Legnica with its documents, which were approved by the then Bishop of Legnica Stefan Cichy, with which the whole process of their implementation in the religious life of the Legnica people of God is significantly connected. The next event in turn concerns the beatification process of the Servant of God Henry II the Pious, which is being implemented in the Diocese of Legnica. This process can not only provide additional inspiration for the growth of piety, but also unveil those areas of socio-cultural life that are generally given – from the point of view of social integrity – important significance. It is about national identity, historical memory, patriotism, religious culture, including sacred art, or the public defense of faith. Also woven into the whole deliberations is a fact of historical significance, namely the transition or transfer of alumni from the Legnica seminary to the Metropolitan Theological Seminary in Wroclaw. This is done in 30. year of the diocese’s existence, and this fact can neither be overlooked nor under any circumstances be considered a “success” and so simply, as if unreflectively, explained only by the so-called “success”. “historical necessity” in the sense of a canonical order. The aforementioned context in its entirety means that the diagnosis of the ecclesiastical life of the diocese certainly requires special attention. Especially since it also becomes a source of new initiatives or suggestions and an aid directly supporting the current Bishop of Legnica, the fourth in the diocese’s history, in his pastoral-apostolic strategy.

Listed below are the problems, suggestions, conclusions and demands that form the warp of the diocesan co-responsibility for the local Church. Their enumeration is not ordered by degree of importance or scope of impact. On the contrary, it goes directly to a certain spontaneity, which probably most captures the nature of all that happened during the diocesan stage of the Synod. Thus, the following issues were raised:

How to replace heaviness with lightness?

Overloading the pastoral work of priests. Many priests complain of difficulties arising from meeting the religious needs of the faithful. They are being implemented, but not sufficiently. It is sometimes difficult to cover all associations operating in a parish with pastoral care updated, for example, through weekly meetings. There was an idea to develop supra-parish pastoral care, such as in cities or deaneries. Here there is a need for coordination led by the dioceses’ central institutions, which have generally been found not to work properly. The help is not to collect surveys, but to hold formative meetings and take real action. It has been noted that pastors who do well with a particular specialized ministry should be supported, rather than being assigned other tasks that are even more involved, causing internal chaos and external disorganization. You have to measure your strength against your intentions! There is a danger of “professional” burnout, and when personal prayer is lacking, spiritual acedia as well.

There is strength in quality!

Some of the discussion of the problems seems to be captured by the saying: “Anyone could have done it, and no one did,” in reference to the poem: “Everyone, Someone, Anyone and No One.” Many Christians participate in criticism of the Church. The claims of the faithful against priests are being revealed. It can be said that, for the most part, the accusations are made by Christians who are more involved in the life of the Church than those who are actually all the same. It happens that their initial activity, characterized by evangelistic concern and disinterestedness, in problematic situations turns into criticism of church institutions or outright clergy of the parish community. Where does it come from? During the discussion, many answers were given. Attention was paid to church-social conditions (e.g., few priests, declining attendance at Sunday liturgy), work-family situations (e.g., haste, fatigue, inability to cope with stress), spiritual-religious condition (e.g., not enough prayer). Rather, synthesizing, the problem was seen in the scarcity or excess of some element, belonging to the quantitative category: not enough of something or something is too much! Above all, a cure was seen in the improvement of the quantitative condition. However, there were also voices that spoke of the need for qualitative changes that absolutely come from approving Christian spiritual formation. She, by design, transforms any “quantity” – with the help of God’s grace – into “quality.” Isn’t conversion a qualitative quantity!

We all need a conversion

Next topic on conversion. It is impossible to explain it here, nevertheless, in the statements of Synod participants it appears as one of the most important, if not the most important. Conversion has become an “object” of wishes, as well as dreams. It was also present in the charges and indictments. Without going into the shades of its presentation, conversion or the call to conversion has become and is the subject of all outlined evangelization plans. Phrases such as: “synodal conversion,” “pastoral conversion,” “ecological conversion,” even “pastoral conversion” as the core of pastoral ministry. Everyone is expected to convert, but it has been stated that the evangelistic attitudes of the so-called “evangelicals” are not a problem. evangelizers often lack the virtue of longevity, remarkably characteristic of educational processes in general and Christian spiritual formation in particular. Well, “an immature champion, focusing on small successes, squanders his achievement (the degree of mastery achieved), the glue of which, after all, is a far-reaching goal.” One is reminded of the proverb: “One must dream of the stars to at least reach the tops of the trees.” Evangelical conversion, a conversion characterized by a “constant choice of Christ” while rejecting “the world and its enticements,” according to Synod participants, was and is being vigorously considered.

Ask God for unity

The discussions, inspired especially by biblical texts, sought a panacea for certain rifts inherent in the Church. However, less was entered into the basic source of the lack of unity, which is personal sin, behind which are, among other things, the search for meaning, the fear of losing the pleasure experienced or simply greed. One stopped at not caring enough to work out a common goal. Even if far-reaching goals were agreed upon, the actions to actually achieve them were outlined vaguely, as small-minded. Mention was made, for example, of nationwide pastoral programs that were inadequately adopted to diocesan conditions and, in fact, did not even inspire individual parish pastors. They were virtually absent from Parish Councils. Incidentally, it was stated that the focus should not be so much on deficiencies, which many find “fascinating,” but more and more explain the goal, so that it, as it were, with its “power” attracts, arouses the desire to achieve it. In the context of concern for unity, those causes that paralyzed, even prevented, the spiritual development of marriages and families were also analyzed. Attempts were also made to diagnose neighborhood, parish and local government life. The issue of priestly unity in the deaneries was also not overlooked. The theme of unity included the issue of helping refugees, caring for the poor and excluded, especially socially conflicted people. These were all considered in the specific circumstances formulated by the pandemic, the war in Ukraine or the general “overload”, which does not even have a name! In sum, it was absolutely stated that God is the source of unity, and the path leading to it was also prompted by Him.

They weren’t, but they still are!

The synodal discussion also touched on youth issues. First of all, it was pointed out that youth is not a problem, but a challenge. Even if it seems that young people are “outside” the Church, there are pre-evangelization “seeds” in themselves that need to be extracted, gently purified and supported to bear fruit. One such “seed” is ideology. To others – conscience or the need for companionship. These “seeds” or “leaven,” often “chosen,” will bear their spiritual fruit in a climate of interest, openness and kindness. The grassroots initiatives of the youth must not be extinguished! It can be seen that the young man can really “squeeze” a lot out of himself to achieve the goal. However, the realization of this goal, bought with great effort, does not always promote personal maturation, for which the moral-religious spine is fundamental. Only good thought along with toil (asceticism) leads to virtue!

And they persisted in prayer….

In recent years, four religious congregations have left the Diocese of Legnica: the Carmelite Sisters, the Borromean Sisters, the Presentation Sisters and the Servite Sisters. The signal of this fact must resound here. Not everything can be explained by a lack of vocations. Concern for religious sisters in the diocesan community cannot be casual, and economic or organizational matters are secondary to the prayerful background of consecrated persons.

Gratitude

An attitude of gratitude is not easy. Experienced as a realization of virtue, it leads to glorifying God at any place and at any time. It begins with a child’s smile in front of a parent, rejoices the heart of a neighbor and then a catechist and educator, and matures in the parish and local community. Sometimes it is missing. Then everything wilts! The neighbor ceases to be a brother, and becomes a stranger, and then an enemy, and then already other people only torment, then the personal plan for life falls apart, because simply a good thought escapes. During the synod meetings, it was communicated and carefully analyzed that the personal acquisition of gratitude and the conscious formation of attitudes of gratitude in others is the key to the renewal of the ecclesiastical and then national community.

Places full of grace!

Diocesan shrines are important places of worship in the Diocese of Legnica. Some of them are special: the Marian shrine in Krzeszów and the shrine of St. Joseph. The company is based in St. Jack’s Church in Legnica. It is also increasingly necessary to “publicize” the sanctuary in Legnickie Pole and raise awareness that the ongoing beatification process is a special time of grace for Diocesans! It is necessary to intensify the pilgrimage traffic associated with them. Let centers of Christian culture be created around the shrines, and in a broad sense, thus bringing out regional richness as well.

Sources that can’t run dry!

There are a relatively large number of clergy in our diocese who hold at least a doctorate. This by no means detracts from those who hold a master’s or bachelor’s degree in theology. For it is not about titles, but a longing for a fuller understanding of God, man and the world. It is necessary to tirelessly look for newer and newer ways to properly manage the intellectual potential of above all clergy and lay catechists. Nowadays, you can start to do this around the Diocesan Library named after the founder. The St. John Paul II Museum, which has a very rich collection. It has been noted in this matter that personal action is more fruitful than mass-formal action. The sharing of experiences showed that intellectual formation is the workhorse of a healthy spiritual formation, even when the human, pastoral or also apostolic formation of lay Catholics falls short. To follow Christ, one must first know and love Him! Reversing this order leads to activities, even ambitious and innovative, but always aimed at sensationalism and self-promotion, which certainly do not reveal an evangelistic spirit. Following Pope Francis’ reminder, well-conducted systematic intellectual formation is meant to protect against deformation of the Christian message (see Evangelium gaudium 39) and distortion of the full meaning of the evangelization mission (see Evangelium gaudium 176). Spirituality needs study and prayer, it needs a library and a temple all along the path of Christian and priestly life.

Confessional and altar

In order for there to be a conversion that can be called “synodal,” and therefore appreciating communion, participation and mission, it is necessary to turn to Him who is the Source gushing toward eternal life (cf. John 4:14). God’s grace always mobilizes man, opens him to “yet…!”, while personal sin only “paralyzes” and provokes complaint: “again!”. This Source, i.e. God, who revealed Himself in the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit, must be discovered and led to Him. The Church does this because it constantly leads to the two tables: the Word of God and the Eucharist; it leads through diakonia and the purifying sacraments, which should be promoted far more emphatically in the world of today’s entanglements: spiritual-religious, psychological-somatic and personal-social.

***

The “threads” raised, which can be called synodal, were really a whole lot. Those that managed to collect were not without either prayer or personal commitment. The experience of living in the Church and for the Church spoke. Factual statements alternated with emotion, testimonies of faith by some triggered boldness in action by others, good thoughts paved the way for good deeds. This is how the Church was taught during the synodal process in the Diocese of Legnica.

Rev. Boguslaw Drozdz
coordinator

Legnica, 29.06.2022.

Diocesan synthesis (PDF version)

SYNTEZA-DIECEZJALNA_Diecezja_Legnicka

[Source:
https://diecezja.legnica.pl/synteza-synodu-w-diecezji-legnickiej/
]

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

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