Summary of Synod proceedings in the dioceses

Diocese of Opole

Diocesan synthesis


  1. The course of the synod in the diocese of Opole

The opening ceremony of the diocesan stage of the Synod on synodality took place on October 17, 2021. at the Opole Cathedral during a Eucharist presided over by Opole Bishop Andrzej Czai with the participation of clergy, consecrated persons and lay faithful. On that day, the Bishop of Opole appointed a 15-member Synodal Team, consisting of the diocesan synod moderator, 2 contact persons and 13 persons responsible for preparing and coordinating synodal consultations in various environments of the diocese, which are: parishes and deaneries, catechists and teachers, consecrated persons, families, youth, the sick, the excluded and those involved in charitable activities, academia and the arts, the media, national minorities and the ecumenical community. One member of the Team combined the role of contact person and responsible for the environment of teachers and catechists.

Members of the Synodal Team after the inaugural Mass. met with the Bishop of Opole, who introduced them to the idea of the Synod and expressed his expectations for the course of the Synod in our diocese. The assembled were asked to appoint more coordinators who, properly prepared, will conduct synodal consultations or prepare more people to organize these meetings. The process was completed in November 2021. The coordinators appointed by the members of the Synodal Team were joined by the deans of the 36 deaneries of the Diocese of Opole or their delegated clergy and 1-2 lay people to support the preparation and conduct, among other things. open inter-parish or decanal meetings.

Due to the constraints of the pandemic, correspondence between the Synod Secretariat and coordinators was carried out by phone and email, and coordinator training was successfully conducted remotely using the Zoom platform. To support the preparation of pastors and lay coordinators working with them, a Polish translation of the International Theological Commission’s document “Synodality in the Life and Mission of the Church” was distributed to all parishes on the initiative of the Bishop of Opole.

In November 2021, a sub-page on the diocesan website concerning the Synod was created, where information, invitations, chronicles and other synodal materials were systematically posted, and the diocesan radio station Radio Doxa began broadcasting “Synodal Fridays,” in which the guests of Ms. Editor Ewa Skrabacz were members of the Synodal Team and other people involved in the Synod. The theme of the Synod was also vividly present in the public preaching of the Bishop of Opole.

From January to May 2022, synodal meetings were held at various levels, which will be described below. In addition to the meetings held by the coordinators, the opportunity for one-on-one meetings at the Synod Secretariat was also given, with priests assigned to the talks on duty. From these meetings, synodal notes were produced, the contents of which formed the basis for this statistic and synodal synthesis.

On the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul on June 29, 2022, in the context of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Diocese of Opole, the Diocesan Presynodal Meeting was held, at which the present synthesis was presented. The following day, June 30, 2022, the day the synthesis was handed over to the Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church, the Bishop of Opole, accompanied by, among others, members of the Synodal Team, set out for a 4-day The Synodal Camino follows the Nysa Way of St. James through the Opole diocese, making it another platform for meetings, consultations and synodal discussions on the road.

  1. Synodal consultation in the Diocese of Opole – methodology, dispositions and attitudes

A consistent assumption regarding synodal consultations has been to undertake them almost exclusively through face-to-face meetings. Thus, the preparation of surveys and other online platforms for the exchange of ideas was ruled out; what remained was the possibility of e-mail and telephone contact with the Synod Secretariat, which, by the way, was used not only by Synod coordinators. In addition, websites, social networks and other media, including diocesan media, were used, as well as parish newspapers and pulpits to provide information about and invitations to meetings.

Synodal meetings were proposed at four levels: (1) individual, animated by the Synod Secretariat (one-on-one meetings, telephone conversations, e-mail correspondence); (2) parish, to which members of Parish Pastoral Councils and Parish Economic Councils and other willing parish residents were invited; (3) inter-parish (decanal), where meetings were open and brought together participants from different parishes and with varying degrees of involvement in the Church community; at the decanal level, the Opole Bishop also invited pastoral ministers serving there to synodal consultations; (4) at the level of diocesan communities, movements, ministries and circles, where meetings were animated by members of the Synodal Team and their appointed coordinators. In addition to this, synodal consultations, led personally by the Bishop of Opole, also took place in diocesan bodies, including. in the Bishop’s Council (which performed some of the tasks of the Diocesan Pastoral Council during the pandemic), in the Court of the Diocese of Opole, and among the consecrated and lay people employed by the Diocesan Curia in Opole.

To help coordinators and participants conduct synodal meetings, the Synod Secretariat prepared four meeting outlines, according to the key of synodal consultation topics proposed by the Bishop of Opole, referring to the Synod’s title: (1) Walking Together; (2) Communion; (3) Participation; (4) Mission. Each handout included: a synodal prayer, a Scripture passage with a reflection/commentary, and questions to facilitate reflection around the proposed topic. The second part of this synthesis, based on this very key, will present the experiences and demands of the participants in the synodal consultations.

Notes submitted to the Synod Secretariat and consultations with coordinators show that the vast majority of meetings were held in a friendly atmosphere, even in cases where the opinions presented were extremely different. There have been times when the inability to calmly communicate one’s own views or respect dissenting beliefs in an interlocutor has led to disruptions in a meeting, loudly expressing one’s displeasure, and even a group of participants leaving a meeting. However, these were sporadic situations, and their origins are to be found in the complete denial by some of the faithful of the idea of the Synod, and even a willingness to disrupt its proceedings.

Many of the meetings were held with familiar people (PRD, PRE, communities), but also, in many cases, participants had the opportunity to meet and share their own experience of faith and understanding of the Church for the first time, as well as engage in reflection about its future. This situation has generated several attitudes, among them: gratitude and enthusiasm, but also distance, fear and doubt. Enthusiasm and gratitude concerned: (1) the fact of being actively involved in reflecting on the Church and its condition, and openly dreaming about its future; (2) the opportunity to meet, especially after pandemic restrictions, and to listen to each other and exchange views, which, according to most of the participants in the meetings, is an all too rare but much needed experience in the Church. However, there were also questions about the legitimacy of this type of open reflection on the Church and the inclusion of the lay faithful, suspicions about attempts to “dismantle the Church” with the Synod, concerns about going down the “German synodal road,” and doubts about whether the voice of Synod participants would be heard and taken into account at later stages of the synodal process. Some participants in synod meetings, especially at the parish level, despite being warned about the nature of the meeting, did not speak up in the discussion.

The Opole Latin Tradition Community spoke extensively in the synodal discussion. Challenging the legitimacy of the accusations leveled against this Environment of not recognizing the legitimacy of Vatican II and invoking Catholic Tradition, representatives of this Environment warn against the heresy of modernism served up in an “attractive humanistic package” and ask the Synod to courageously search for the sources of weakness in the Church itself and for inspiration to boldly proclaim the Gospel, make demands of Catholics and for a more radical witness given by the clergy.

The distance from the Synod was shown, unfortunately, by many priests (as reflected in the statistics below), by not attending the synodal meetings of the decanal presbytery, by ignoring invitations to hold synodal meetings in their parishes, and finally by unilaterally dominating the meetings and orienting them in such a way that there was no opportunity to freely express their own views or comments, for example, on parish pastoral care.

The synodal consultations also encountered other obstacles. Their commencement at a time when sanitary restrictions were in effect generated fears of Covid-19 infection, and the following weeks, in the context of which the war in Ukraine, the return of many to full life activity after the pandemic, and field work, meant that interest in the Synod waned. In cyclical meetings of synodal groups, the number of participants has steadily declined. Some did not like the way the synod meetings were conducted and the specific focus of the discussions, while others found the prepared handouts to be of little use and written in too difficult language.

Among the coordinators of clergy and laity, there was no shortage of people who tirelessly organized many synod meetings, gathering around them people ready to share responsibility for the Church and willing to continue these meetings. Given the rich experience of ecumenical cooperation in our diocese, it was possible to recruit, among others, to the synodal coordinators. pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Pentecostal Church, and conduct synodal consultations with the faithful of these churches as well. Representatives of the Congress of Catholic Women and Catholics also contributed a valuable voice to the synod’s ecumenical reflection, advocating, among other things. Incorporating ecumenical themes into traditional pastoral care in the Catholic Church and into catechesis – in order to deepen the “ecumenical consciousness of Catholics”, organizing ecumenical tourism or taking other initiatives that would build a culture of encounter and dialogue. Thanks to the ministry of the Bishop of Opole’s Almshouse, introduced several years ago, it was also possible to reach out to the homeless and excluded and the volunteers who serve them, and to hear their voices in the synodal discussion. The voice of those still keenly interested in pastoral ministry in the German language, as well as the admittedly small group of young people whose bond with the Church after receiving the sacrament of Confirmation has visibly weakened, but who nevertheless wished to participate in the Synod, also seems exceptionally valuable.

With the above-mentioned groups in mind, one must conclude that despite attempts to reach as wide an environment as possible, we heard almost exclusively the voice of believers and those involved, albeit to varying degrees, in the Church community. Although a lot of concern for the younger generation was “heard” in the synod discussions, the youth themselves had little participation in the Synod. Other environments located “on the periphery of the Church” also resound insufficiently in the synodal syntheses.

  1. Synodal statistics of the Diocese of Opole

The above-mentioned four levels of synodal consultation in the Diocese of Opole, traces of which were transmitted in the synodal notes, can be described by several figures. (1) In one-on-one meetings (these are considered to be meetings at the Synod Secretariat, phone calls, and e-mails that have synodal demands in their content), approx. 15 people. (2) For members of Parish Pastoral Councils and Parish Economic Councils and invited volunteers, 278 meetings were held in 94 parishes. A total of approx. 1400 people. (3) In 25 deaneries, 80 coordinators organized 149 supra-parish meetings attended by 1,511 people from 118 parishes. In addition, presbyteries in 18 deaneries gathered for synodal meetings, holding a total of 49 meetings. (4) Finally, at the level of communities, ministries and other settings, 77 coordinators organized 135 meetings with a total of 1,396 participants. Thus, a total of 635 meetings were held in the Diocese of Opole, attended by a total of approx. 5340 people. However, since some attended several meetings, the actual number of people participating in the synodal consultations can be estimated at 3,800. These people were willing to reflect around the 4 themes suggested by the Synod’s title. Its fruits we try to briefly present later in this synthesis in the key: experiences and dreams.

  1. Walking together – experiences and dreams

Many participants in the synod meetings, representing different generations and backgrounds, consider the family: parents, siblings, spouse or grandparents, as the primary space for walking together. They want to follow Jesus with someone and someone who is an authority for them on the path of faith and closeness to God, even giving him the right to admonish them. However, the progressive crisis of authority and the breakdown of healthy family relationships are noted in unison, hence the experience of “going it alone” and, in the case of young people, also “going nowhere” or “following money, wealth, material things” in the voices of the elderly, but also the young. Many seem to correctly diagnose that the increasing pace of life, growing individualism and selfishness are a serious obstacle to moving forward together.

The second most frequently mentioned environment for following together is the parish community, where participation in Mass, reception of the Holy Sacraments, communal worship, as well as membership in parish groups and other pastoral initiatives such as pilgrimages, vigils – provide an awareness of following together to the goal of eternity. In the parish community, the faithful seek authority in pastors; they want to follow them, listen to them. They depend on their qualities (openness, willingness to dialogue, readiness to listen and devote time to the faithful, care for the beauty of the liturgy and the way the Word of God is preached) for the condition of the community and the possibility of following Christ together. To them, they also acquiesce in exhortations and pointing the way, but subject to the clarity of their attitude and witness of life.

Members of religious groups and movements see the best environment for walking together in their community. The bonds developed there, the trust, as well as the loyalty and help shown to each other, provide a sense of security and the opportunity to share the experience that God loves us. However, when there is rivalry within them or religious fanaticism resulting from a lack of healthy formation, these circles lose their ability to inspire spiritual growth and walk the path of faith together.

Speakers in the discussion unanimously noted that outside the family, parish and community, it is increasingly difficult to have a consciousness of following together, because the environments of their lives, work and rest are increasingly made up of people who are religiously indifferent and hostile to the Church.

Sharing the experience of walking together and the difficulties encountered along the way, the participants dared to define a number of concrete demands of a pastoral nature, among them:

  • Building good relationships in the Church based on listening to each other, defining each other’s needs, talking and sharing the faith; the need for priests and the faithful to meet and be together (including physically) not only during the liturgy;
  • the need for pastoral investment in marriage and the family so that it is an environment for growth in faith and the transmission of good traditions; making marriages and families an entity in the Church, supporting them in being domestic churches through catechesis and various forms of liturgical and extra-liturgical influence; allowing families to bear witness to the faith in the parish community, and parents to prepare their children for First Holy Communion;
  • The need for the Church hierarchy to present an unambiguous and consistent position on issues of faith, morality and current social issues and thus build up the Church’s authority; to address media reports of the sins of Church people clearly and lucidly, so that there is no impression of “sweeping difficult issues under the rug.”
  • the need for pastors to maintain unity in making demands on the faithful and enforcing church discipline related to the reception of the sacraments (“we expect the Church to show us the way”) and for pastors to fulfill the bishop’s decrees and recommendations (“ignoring the bishop’s decrees and orders is inflammatory and demotivating to implement the pastor’s instructions”);
  • The need for priests to be concerned about the “quality” of the liturgy and the preached Word of God, which should be free of political references, moralism and disrespect for the views of others; the presence of priests in the confessional and in the chancery, a willingness to provide spiritual direction, to be a “companion and not a steward” of the faithful;
  • Undertake pastoral initiatives conducive to walking together: initiate small communities, care and ongoing formation of existing groups, especially those bringing together young people: altar servers, Children of Mary, liturgical scholars, Oasis; ensure that communities do not compete with each other; organize parish discussion forums, pilgrimage trips; abandon online pastoral practices during epidemics;
  • Respecting and returning to the “healthy tradition” of the Church and avoiding “rotten compromises” with the modern world; a bolder return to the Tridentine liturgy and less distance of pastors (bishops and priests) from its “proponents.”
  1. Communion – experiences and dreams

“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 lack of religious knowledge, enslavement to wealth, technological development, the pursuit of money and consumerism, all of which generate the so-called “”new” 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. 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 individulously, “in one’s own way,” “beside 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 to build the parish today 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 with simultaneous care to ensure that acumen and “fairness” do not crowd out what is most important in the Church.
  1. Participation – experiences and dreams

The one who builds the Church through the ages is God Himself. Our task is to accept what God “gives” and at the same time participate in what He “inflicts.” It is our participation that requires “shared responsibility” and “commitment.” With these words, the participants were introduced to the topic of the third synodal meeting on participation in the life of the Church. Eagerly sharing the experience of their involvement in the Church and parishes, both clergy and laity pointed out its various dimensions. An important way of building up the Church, emphasized by many, is prayer, including prayer for the Church, for priests and for vocations. There is also no shortage of those who add fasting and other sacrifices, illness and suffering to prayers for these intentions. Others understand “building up the Church” almost exclusively as material support of its initiatives through monetary offerings, participation in collections, material support of missions, and donation of concrete work for the Church and parish (cleaning, renovations, decorative work). Still others support the Church by using their talents, education and professional competence, sitting on the structures of Parish Pastoral Councils and Parish Finance Councils, catechizing, working in church counseling centers or providing advice to the pastor on specific administrative issues. Finally, many understand the work of building up the Church as a “spiritual work,” attaching to prayer involvement in the preparation and celebration of the liturgy (altar servers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, church ministry, organists), membership and leadership in prayerful and formative parish and supra-parish groups and communities, and finally charitable involvement in Parish Caritas Teams, in various types of volunteer work and works to support the homeless and marginalized. The latter form of “building” the Church still seems to be attractive to young people as well, even if they declare a weak relationship with the Church and irregular practice of the faith. Among the participants in the synodal meetings who were asked about “participatio” in the Church community, there were also those who stated: “in the Church I am a man from the pew and I don’t get involved in His life from the inside,” or “the time of pandemonium has caused changes in me and I don’t want to get involved in the Church anymore,” or “I have lost confidence in the Church and I don’t feel like being in it anymore.” Among the reasons cited most often were the pace of life and the associated lack of time, the resistance of the clergy to cooperate and even “their extinguishing of the initiative of the laity,” and a number of front-page arguments: the scandal of pedophilia and abuse of power in the Church, the glamour, immorality and living beyond their means of the clergy, the haughtiness of the hierarchy and their involvement “in the alliance of the throne with the altar.”

One priest, using the statement that the Church is “a vineyard and not a quarry,” pointed out the need for constant concern for implantation in Christ and treating the Church as a cultivated field of God. In turn, one lay participant confessed: “I have a dream to be involved in something that has a future, rather than sustaining an open-air museum.” Above all, the synodal consultation unveiled the great number of those involved and willing to engage in this cultivation, as well as the enormity of their commitment to this work. But from this reflection of priests, consecrated persons and laity, postulates and dreams were also born:

  • Pastoral conversion of clergy and laity to transform structures and respectfully form subjective faith and love for the Church;
  • Forming the lay faithful to share responsibility for the Church, especially in the parish dimension, given the decline in priestly and religious vocations;
  • The openness of pastoralists to youth initiatives, even if they go beyond the framework of traditional pastoral care;
  • greater involvement of pastors, especially young priests who seem to “stand behind the wall,” if only in simply being present with those involved in the parish, working together with them and the immediacy of their interactions;
  • The openness of pastors in talking about the material and spiritual problems of the parish community and their willingness to share with the laity the tasks of parish administration;
  • Limiting the Curia’s interference in parish pastoral life and the transfer of pastoral materials to parishes;
  • Care for the inclusive nature of parish groups and communities, so that they are open to new members, care for the ongoing formation of communities and their leaders;
  • sensitivity to the charisms God bestows on community members and the courageous use of them in the service of the Church.
  1. Mission – experiences, anxieties, dreams

By the command of Jesus, the Church proclaims the Gospel to all people so that they can find their salvation in it. This missionary work requires the courageous witness of faith and apostolic commitment of every Christian in the environment in which he lives and works. With these words, the coordinators of the synod meetings introduced the participants to a reflection on the Church’s missionality, and yet a very broad spectrum of its understanding resounded in their voices. For some, mission is still clearly associated with ad gentes missionary activities, and they understand participation almost exclusively as prayerful and material support of these activities. Others, including clergymen, see the space for missionary activity only in the church and parish, with even meetings with a supplicant in a law office not considered an appropriate space for evangelization. Similarly-minded lay faithful define the identity of a disciple-missionary solely by prayer, involvement in parish groups and taking initiatives to unite the parish, without ruling out the need for the institutional Church to return “to its original austerity and respect for the law” in order to “sift the grain from the chaff.” However, the vast majority of participants in the synod talks understood mission as reaching out to the world and people who are religiously indifferent, neutral or hostile to the Church, with the young generation most often identified as the recipients of missionary activities. Priests see the need to return to the original evangelical zeal in “searching for the sheep of the lost,” catechists value the value of life testimony more highly than the best prepared catechesis, the lay faithful increasingly call their home and workplace the “mission field,” and the addressees of evangelization their children, grandchildren, friends and co-workers. Many realize that preaching the Gospel outside the church “costs more and more” and involves ridicule, finger-pointing and even exclusion from friends and acquaintances. Therefore, it is all the more difficult for them to identify effective ways to carry out the task of the disciple-missionary. Some believe that it is enough to “be yourself,” simple politeness and kindness as a testimony to belonging to Christ, others – provoked or not – are ready to speak openly about God and defend the good name of the Church in their communities, at family parties or workplaces, while still others (members of the Neocatechumenal Way, as well as laymen and clergy involved in the work of the New Evangelization, have been particularly bold in this regard) are ready to take to the streets and proclaim Christ “in season and out of season.”

The fruit of the synod’s reflection on the missionary mission of the Church was also very concrete demands and expectations:

  • The need to spiritually strengthen the family as an environment for the transmission of Christian faith and values;
  • the need for a clear testimony of clerics, so that with their lives they “confirm the preached Word of God and principles” and are faithful to their vocation;
  • The departure of priests to the faithful (e.g., after Mass in front of the church) and their presence in homes on the occasion of important life circumstances (home celebrations, communal prayer and conversation); stepping out of life’s comfort zone more boldly; “the parsonage should be open 24 hours a day.”
  • the need for the Church to boldly reach out to modern social media, media campaigns, social networks while avoiding sympathizing with a particular political option and entering into dependencies that undermine witness; media coverage should be professional and communicative;
  • Allowing lay people to witness their faith and struggle to be faithful to Jesus during retreats, missions and other parish meetings;
  • Organizing integration meetings, festivals, concerts in parishes, which would provide a platform for believers to meet religiously indifferent people;
  • Use of parish halls and buildings as a meeting place for youth and activation of senior citizens;
  • Revitalize and intensify charitable activities in parishes, as a way of involving young people “by the parish and for a good cause,” so that they feel needed;
  • Breaking down fear and distance in pastoralists’ interactions with young people: listening, meeting, spending time together and implementing parish projects.
  1. Diocesan perspectives on the path of synodality

The experiences of the synodal meetings described above, or rather only summarized, allow us to hope that synodality, as walking together in an atmosphere of common prayer, mutual listening, openness to the action of the Holy Spirit and sharing responsibility for the Church in action, will more henceforth become the way the Opole Church functions on a daily basis. However, the successful realization of this dream will require taking and optimizing actions already underway, including.

  • creating spaces for dialogue and encounter between the bishop and priests, priests among themselves and priests with the lay faithful; one of these will be the bishops’ declared more frequent presence in the deaneries for meetings with priests and the lay faithful, including outside the canonical visitation;
  • to optimize the preparation of the lay faithful for ministries in the Church and to introduce in the diocese, after proper preparation, the functions of catechist, lector and acolyte;
  • return (after the pandemic) to the regular formation of Parish Pastoral Councils as a well-established synodal structure in the diocese, and further synodal orientation of its functioning in parishes;
  • Using the competencies of the members of the new Parish Economic Councils and sharing with them the responsibility for the material well-being of the parish communities;
  • optimizing the ongoing formation of priests toward a deeper experience of the Church as the People of God and a readiness to cooperate and share responsibility for the Church with the lay faithful;
  • Investing in the pastoral care of young people using, among other things. The methodology of synodal meetings based on presence, meeting, listening and acting for the benefit of others; the involvement in this pastoral care of lay faithful, who show deep concern for the spiritual condition of young people and declare their willingness to provide competent assistance;
  • courageous return after the epidemic to the regular formation of parish and supra-parish communities and groups.

Taking these steps will certainly unveil further needs and dreams that need not be feared. Indeed, the experience of the synodal meetings showed the great zeal and love for the Church of many pastors and faithful. Therefore – despite the crisis the Church is experiencing at the present time, which is rightly diagnosed in many places in the synodal reflection – there is still “with whom” and “for whom” to move towards the synodal Church through communion, participation and mission.

Opole, dn. 28 June 2022, on the 50th anniversary of the Opole Diocese

Developing a synthesis:
Rev. Waldemar Musiol, moderator of the synod;
s. M. Angela Lasek ISSM, contact person;
Rev. Paul Chyla, member of the Synodal Team responsible for general pastoral care.


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

Archidiecezja Białostocka

Prace synodalne w Archidiecezji Białostockiej trwały w okresie od 17 października 2021 do 30 czerwca 2022. Arcybiskup Metropolita Białostocki powołał zespół synodalny odpowiedzialny za przebieg prac w skład którego weszły dwie osoby świeckie i dwóch duchownych. W większości parafii, na 116 w 98, zostali wyznaczeni koordynatorzy (50 kobiet, 26 mężczyzn i 22 księży), których zadaniem była organizacja spotkań i konsultacji synodalnych oraz rozpowszechnianie idei trwającego synodu. U początku postępowania synodalnego zaproponowano szeroki proces konsultacji na poziomie parafialnym wszystkim wiernym świeckim, z udziałem zróżnicowanych grup wspólnotowych formalnych i nieformalnych, przy zaangażowaniu miejscowego duchowieństwa i osób zakonnych. Spotkania synodalne w parafiach odbywały się przy zaangażowaniu licznych osób świeckich. Oprócz parafialnych miały miejsce spotkania ogólnodiecezjalne (w liczbie 3), a także w ramach wspólnot działających w diecezji, jak też rozmowy w rodzinach. Osoby indywidualne mogły skorzystać z ankiety synodalnej dostępnej na stronie internetowej Archidiecezji Białostockiej.

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Synodalne konsultacje – doświadczenie nieoczekiwane

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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Dowód na działanie Ducha Świętego

Decyzję o udziale w spotkaniach synodalnym podjęliśmy świadomie, zdając sobie sprawę, że jest to okazja do wyrażenia własnych opinii na tematy ważne dla Kościoła. Podczas kolejnych spotkań odkryliśmy w praktyce, że ich struktura (modlitwa do Ducha Świętego, lektura Pisma Świętego, życzliwe wsłuchiwanie się w wypowiedzi innych i wskazywanie, co szczególnie poruszyło nas w tym, co słyszymy) prowadzi do wartościowych wniosków niekiedy całkiem odmiennych od założeń, z którymi docieraliśmy na spotkania synodalne. Dla nas to dowód na działanie Ducha Świętego i głęboką wartość spotkań synodalnych.

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