Diocese of Wloclawek
Diocesan synthesis [wersja PDF niżej]
SYNODAL SYNTHESIS OF THE DIOCESE OF WLOCLAWEK
I Synod Event
Inaugurated at the Vatican on October 9-10, 2021, by Pope Francis, the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, “For a Synodal Church. Communion, Participation, Mission,” became a unique event. The Holy Father invited all people to speak on issues affecting the Church. Everyone could join the discussion; no one could feel left out or excluded.
October 17, 2021 The inauguration of the synod in the Diocese of Wloclawek took place. Mass. The diocesan bishop, Krzysztof Wętkowski, presided at the Cathedral Basilica in Włocławek. In his homily, he stressed that the synod that is beginning is about hearing what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church today. The diocesan coordinator of the synod was appointed Fr. Andrzej Tomalak, who invited the following to work together s. Oliwia Kusek SCM and Hanna Krzemieniewska.
The idea, main goals and deadlines related to the work of the synod in the diocese were communicated to the deanery priests during a meeting attended by Msgr. Krzysztof Wętkowski, on October 27, 2021. The dean priests were asked to pass on the messages they received to the parish priests and vicars in their deaneries. They were also invited to take on the duties of decanal synodal coordinators. Animators of pastoral groups also received written invitations to join the synod’s work. A tab has been set up on the diocesan website, where basic information on the synodal process is posted, as well as reports on meetings of synodal groups in the Diocese of Wloclawek. An e-mail box has also been set up to facilitate contact.
Numerous synodal groups have been formed in the diocese.
Synodal discussion was held on issues proposed by the Synod Vademecum. Based on the topics identified there, synodal questions tailored for young people were prepared. 21 open-ended questions were created. Questionnaires for catechists were similarly modified.
What shone through from the first accounts of synod meetings was uncertainty about whether the voice of the laity, who describe themselves as “ordinary people,” would really be heard and whether they could freely express their opinions even if their voice was critical of the priest or the reality observed in the Church. Over time, the participants in the meetings gained confidence and trust in each other. Midway through the synod, the fact that each participant in the synod meetings had the opportunity to speak and was not afraid to express their comments was pointed out as an important fruit of the event, although “initially there were concerns about whether anyone would really listen to us, or maybe it would just be a ‘tick off’ event.” They also emphasized the wide variety of issues raised during the discussion. – “These were fruitful meetings that strengthened the individual communities,” added a participant in the synod meeting.
During the Mass for the opening of the synod, October 10, 2021, Pope Francis said, among other things: “Holding the Synod means walking the same road together, wandering together. Let’s look at Jesus, who on the road first meets the rich man, then listens to his questions, and finally helps him discern what to do to have eternal life. Meet, listen, discern: these are the three verbs of the Synod that I would like to focus on.”
Thus, looking at the first premise of the synod, it can be said with all responsibility that it has been achieved. After two years of isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, people began to meet and talk to each other: honestly, openly, without fear or criticism. From the accounts of the priests and lay coordinators, one could learn that with the following weeks and months, interest in the synod grew on the part of the laity, who themselves sought contacts and opportunities to speak. This was obvious evidence that the laity felt responsible for the Church, felt that they were in the Church and were the Church.
In some parishes, it has been possible to invite people who are involved in the life of the parish, as well as those who are indifferent or even hostile to the Church, to join the table. It was an opportunity to express their doubts, as well as to clarify misunderstandings, which were primarily based on personal animosities and injuries. The synod therefore became an opportunity to clarify misunderstandings. All it took was a little goodwill from all sides of the dialogue.
The direction and progress of the synodal work was presented at the second meeting of the dean priests, which took place on March 17, 2022. At the Higher Seminary in Włocławek. The Diocesan Bishop also attended this meeting.
In addition to two meetings at the diocesan level, the diocesan coordinator attended several meetings of parish groups. There were also individual consultations with coordinators of parish and inter-parish groups and individuals.
It is noteworthy that the meetings of the synodal groups always began with Mass. and/or adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
By the end of May this year. 128 syntheses were submitted to the synod secretariat of the Diocese of Wloclawek. Among them are collective syntheses of deanery, parish, communities operating in the diocese, and 21 individual syntheses, among which is the voice of Senior Bishop Wieslaw Mering, who expressed the hope that “the synod will revive the faith of God’s people that in the Holy Scriptures the Church hears the voice of the living God from Sinai and the voice of Jesus Christ – its Founder and Lord.” Bishop Wloclaw Senior reminded that the task of the Church is to uphold Tradition and care for the family. He also stated that “the laity today defend the Gospel, preaching it selflessly and zealously; they defend their pastors; many times they embarrass the clergy with their courage and uncompromisingness.”
II Synodal Conclusions
1. travel companions
All the synodal surveys emphasized that what unites people in the Church is faith in God and the sacraments. Of particular importance is baptism, which forms the baptized into a community, walking together to the kingdom of heaven. At the same time, there is a perceived need to remind or explain to the faithful the importance of this sacrament in human life and the tasks that result from it. Bishops and presbyters were identified as guides. It was clearly resounding that the faithful expect their pastors to be wise and knowledgeable in matters of faith and morals, deeply pious and prayerful, and above all to have a witness of life with which to confirm the word they preach. It emphasized that they should be authorities on these issues.
The role of communities that help in walking through life was also emphasized. These groups give people support and a sense that they are not alone, and formation meetings provide opportunities to deepen their faith and knowledge. However, every effort should be made to ensure that communities do not become hermetic groups, but are open to new members.
There was also an expectation on the part of the laity to be more open to their initiatives and at least the presence of a priest during their implementation. As said, admittedly rarely, but nevertheless, you can sometimes hear from a priest: “you can do it, but don’t count on me”.
Touching on the issue of those remaining “on the sidelines,” it was emphasized that there is a place for everyone in the Church and no one should feel unwanted, unneeded or unwelcome. The reason for such a state is the departure from the community and the alienation of the people themselves departing from God and the Church. The reasons for this were attributed to a weak, unestablished faith, a lack of a sense of connection with the Church, a misunderstanding or lack of elementary religious knowledge that one does not go to church for/to the priest, but to the Lord God. It was also pointed out that the reasons for such “self-abuse” are most often misunderstandings, blunders and personal resentments in the relationship with the priest, neglect of the sacramental life, the so-called “self-abuse”. “free relationships,” a sense of self-sufficiency and a lack of spiritual needs. The problem in reaching these people is their reluctance and indifference to any efforts to bring them closer to the Church.
Another problem is the excessive influence of the media, which is increasingly replacing interpersonal relationships; children and adolescents’ relationships with their parents, who, seeking relaxation, allow their children to play with smartphones, tablets, etc., are particularly suffering.
“Faith is born of listening.” In this context, synod participants stressed the value and need for reading the Scriptures. They also reminded us that the Lord Jesus urges us to listen (“He who has ears, let him hear”). It was also pointed out that listening is a difficult skill: not only in relation to God, but also in interpersonal relations. The issue of homilies was also raised. In the syntheses submitted, a deficiency also shines through when it comes to the word of God preached in the temples. It was painfully pointed out that not all priests are adequately preparing for this task. The faithful, coming to Mass. would like to hear a homily that is prayerful, thoughtful, with a deep message that would help them understand the readings they heard and put them into action.
They also pointed out the importance and need to listen to each other, especially in families (parents and children, spouses). It was pointed out that today people talk to each other more than they talk to each other. Attention was paid to the ability to listen to every person: rich and poor, old and young, who should be given the same respect and treated as partners, not from a position of superiority. Problems with proper listening are also created by lack of time, humility, prejudice, pride, ready answers, fear of difficult questions, fatigue, lack of patience, loneliness, nervousness, labeling, fear of aggression from others, fear of burdening others with their problems, haste, lack of firmness in confessing the faith, pushiness, aggression from people attacking the Church.
It is important not to judge hastily and to accept what the other person says with respect. Empathy helps to open up to the problems of others and listen to them respectfully.
3. taking the floor
It also stressed that everyone is invited to speak with courage and parezia. Speaking out enables trust in the community/group and knowledge of the people who make it up. An impediment is fear, fear of being misunderstood and negatively judged by others, and sometimes of revealing one’s own ignorance.
A group leader/representative speaks for the community. He can be appointed ex officio or elected from among the community.
It was pointed out that the opportunity to submit your observations and opinions and advice on the functioning of the parish is the possibility of meeting directly with the priest in the parish office as well as submitting your comments and proposals through representatives of the Parish Council.
Participants in the synodal meetings are aware of the potential of today’s social media. It was found that an excellent communication tool is the parish newspaper or website, where all the information about the most important events in the life of the parish, the community are posted on a regular basis. The ability of visitors to the site to post comments is also one form of voice. However, one must learn to be responsible for one’s words. It was also pointed out that the Internet provides anonymity and thus a sense of impunity and emboldens unjust attacks on people and institutions. Objections were also expressed to the ubiquitous hate speech.
It was also noted that in the local Church, as well as in Polish society, it is difficult to formulate answers boldly and honestly, both in topics related to the problems of the Catholic Church and in everyday, secular life. The thesis of increasing anti-clericalism, or even fighting against the Church, was pointed out with concern. This is done on many levels: in the family, at work, in social and political life. All the perceived “flaws of the Church” are reported by the secular media, and only some issues are properly explained by the Catholic media. Hence was born the demand that the episcopate establish a Catholic radio station that would be the voice of the Church in Poland.
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 sacraments 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. They objected to the Holy See’s decision to restrict the use of the extraordinary rite in the liturgy.
5. shared responsibility in our common mission
It was emphasized that the missionary nature of the Church is not just about proclaiming the Good News in distant countries. Every baptized person is called to proclaim Christ in his daily life and to discover his life’s vocation and fulfill it. There are all sorts of obstacles in mission, such as secularization, anticlericalism, unfavorable conditions for preaching, splits in communities. As for neglected missionary areas, one of the main ones would be the evangelization of children and young people, to whom more time and attention should be devoted, since school catechesis is often boring and does not lead to reflection on the life of faith, but to religious boredom, so that we get the opposite of the intended results. School catechesis is often what the curriculum requires, and that doesn’t necessarily work in real life.
There has been concern about the quality of religious instruction in school. Attention was paid to the level of catechists and textbooks.
Also neglected are young people after receiving the sacrament of Confirmation; likewise, those scarred by life, i.e. divorced, homeless, people with so-called “bad luck. “pathological families.” Unquestionable support in difficulties will always be prayer and material assistance.
It is also important to “de-brown” the saints in a certain way, to show that anyone can become a saint, and that their lives, although extraordinary, were similar to our lives, and their problems to those we face.
A hindrance to witnessing is certainly one’s own doubts in the faith, lack of knowledge, a sense of loneliness (often being the only believer or the only one admitting to the faith in a company). The bold profession of faith is facilitated by: a sense of belonging to a community, knowledge, awareness of the work of the Holy Spirit, but also authenticity of faith.
Anti-testimony is judgment, judging, looking down on others, overzealousness, hypocrisy, a gap between words and actions, but also isolation, especially evident in small communities, which often close themselves off to others, looking down on others. The lack of aesthetic forms of communication also has a negative effect in bearing witness.
The role of the family in the evangelization of children and young people and the need to catechize families were also emphasized. Families, as the closest environment for young people, have a huge impact on their perception of the world, as well as their faith. It is extremely important to catechize entire families, so that there is no gap, between what young people hear in Church, at catechesis, and what happens in their homes. Therefore, it is worth trying to reach and evangelize the parents of candidates for Confirmation, for example: organize a day of recollection for candidates and their parents (common Mass, separate workshops for young people and their parents), or in one of the organizational meetings for parents allow to listen to a testimony, a conference (preached by the family). It is also important to offer families groups that enable ongoing formation.
In order for the catechization of young people, candidates for Confirmation, to work well, it is important for the parish to have good contact with school catechists. It is worthwhile for their work program to be mutually familiar and complementary.
Important centers of evangelization of young people are various events organized specifically for young people it is important that they can be accessible to all and that the financial barrier, does not prevent young people from participating in such events.
It can be useful to invite communities, evangelizers to places where they can meet with young people (e.g.: school retreats) is a good opportunity to stimulate in them thinking about God, but the next stage, should always be proposals to join specific communities in the parish, where they could constantly form themselves, so that the frequent positive impressions that these events have on young people will not be lost, and can bear fruit, by growing in faith together in various communities.
It was also suggested that people with various artistic talents should take up Christian content in their art.
Young people are also being reached by entertainment, and it can be a good starting point for evangelization. Concerts or social gatherings at the church may seem appealing and interesting to those who are outside the living organism of the church. Such “going outdoors” can also consist of prayer actions in the streets and squares, etc.
6. dialogue in the Church and society
The ideal of dialogue is seen as an exchange of ideas, opinions, leading to mutual enrichment. Common ground is necessary for dialogue to be fruitful. It is faith, the common good, and concern for common issues. In the relationship with the pastor, the place for dialogue is the parish office, meetings of the Parish Council and parish groups, religious chapters or catechesis. They also emphasized the importance and role of the pastoral visit (carol service), during which the faithful have the opportunity to talk freely with their pastor. The downside, however, is the rush that sometimes accompanies caroling.
Discussing the issue of dialogue, several important features of the dialogue were highlighted:
– Listening before speaking, getting to know what the other party is saying,
– Not judging what the other party says without discernment – trying to get a spouse’s perspective (taking into account the differences between men and women) and making a self-assessment of one’s own behavior,
– Sharing what one feels – trusting the other person and building an intimate relationship,
– At the same time, however, not pushing your opinion at all costs, the ability to let go,
– forgiveness – I listen differently when I feel gifted, in this way,
– Appreciation of the other person – how it enriches me to see from the other person’s point of view.
Participants in the meetings also stressed that the erroneous image of the Church and the faith can be overcome by simply having human conversations and posing questions to those who are negative and confused. Also important is local media activity to straighten out certain issues and present the Church in a true light.
It was also pointed out that a believer should engage in social and political life according to his conscience. Politics is an area in which not everyone can be actively involved. It is the local community that is the place of everyone’s direct influence and where they should be most involved in building a better reality. Depending on their education, personality traits, upbringing, young people are involved in both political and social life. Faith is not a determinant of involvement in public life, although it should motivate one to do so and sensitize one to the welfare of others.
The Diocese of Wloclawek is practically homogeneous in terms of religion. Non-Catholics make up less than one percent of the diocese’s population. Nevertheless, the issue of ecumenism is no stranger to participants in the synodal path. Meetings during the Week of Universal Prayer for Christian Unity and other events were indicated. In addition, there is close cooperation with the Polish Ecumenical Council – Kujawsko-Pomorski Branch with headquarters in Bydgoszcz. We are united by moving together toward unity, having first discerned all that differs and divides us. On this path, we have an extremely fruitful dialogue that has lasted for 30 years.
8 Power and participation
Authority in the Church is exercised hierarchically and should remain so. In matters of faith and morals, the authority is the bishops and presbyters, exercising authority in the name of Jesus Christ. The laity also participate in the life of the parish through active involvement in liturgy, prayer groups, oratories, and day care centers. It also emphasized the significant role of pastoral parish councils, which are an advisory voice in parish matters, or councils and chapters in religious congregations. It was also pointed out that it should be possible in various church institutions to appoint a competent lay person to manage it, especially when we see a decreasing number of vocations to consecrated life and the priesthood, and there are fewer and fewer priests themselves. However, it was noted that “the clergy should not hand over too much responsible authority to the laity.” Thus, a “golden mean” is necessary.
The surveys also revealed that in some parishes there is an authoritative style: the parish priest only gives ordinances, and the laity are supposed to listen and obey them; this leads to withdrawal and lack of initiative on the part of the laity. Sometimes there is a lack of consultation between the pastor and the faithful regarding the investments being made. The lack of Economic Councils was also highlighted. This has been interpreted as confirmation that parish priests do not want advice from lay people, who often have a better idea of finances. Attention was drawn to the need for greater transparency in financial matters.
In this context, concerns have been expressed about some decisions, such as mounting Internet relays on church steeples. “We should not combine profit-oriented technology with the image of a place dedicated to the Lord God,” notes a participant in the synod road.
Some have also criticized the episcopate’s deference to ordinances on restrictions during the pandemic. Also pointed out was the lack of authority in the Church and thus of spiritual leadership of the magnitude of Cardinal. Karol Wojtyla or Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski. The laity needs the unambiguous voice of the shepherd. They see difficulties in recognizing leadership in the Church.
On the other hand, the lack of taking responsibility of the laity for the life and some affairs of the Church was pointed out. The laity see no possibility of real influence in shaping it. Also, the lack of a sense of community makes them not choose the Church as a reality for which to devote their energy. This can be seen, among other things. in the reluctance of some parents to have their children serve at the altar as altar servers or lectors.
9. discernment and decision-making
Depending on the environment in which we live, topics on the value of choosing a path are addressed in different ways. The main thread running through the conversations is that of material values, especially in non-church affiliated or non-formed circles. Topics related to spiritual values tend to be discussed in a smaller, trusted circle. In connection with values, the conclusion is that they should not be detached from reality, but interact with it, and certainly not remain at the level of mere talk or theory. The topic of vocation rarely comes up in conversations, as it should first and foremost be the subject of prayer, not debates with others. Our future is first and foremost linked to salvation, and it should be viewed in this perspective. However, there are no concrete answers to whether man’s plans are the same as God’s. There is an awareness and desire for human plans to merge with God’s design, but whether this is in fact the case is a difficult issue, requiring constant reflection and pondering of individual life decisions.
Responding to God’s call is a demanding thing, because what is needed beforehand is listening to God, not closing oneself off to Him. People often prefer to be deaf, not to enter into dialogue with God, they feel fear of Him. Hearing the voice of God is possible in prayer, the sacraments, reading Scripture, but also in ordinary, everyday life, through which God speaks. Vocation is the voice of God, calling us. It is the purpose of life, a plan, but inseparable from the existence of man. In hearing a vocation, it is helpful to open up to God in everyday situations, circumstances of life. It is God speaking to us that is the greatest help in discovering a vocation. That a person pursues a vocation can be known by the fruits – peace in the heart, a sense of happiness.
Failure to fulfill a vocation is evident from restlessness, the constant search for challenges, substitutes, attempts to find peace and happiness. Acting in one’s vocation for the Church plays an important role in its development.
In discovering a vocation, the Church supports through catechists, priests, spiritual directors, confessors or events such as vocation retreats. Recently also through the Internet and articles, conferences transmitted through it. God also works through various types of events. It is important that the Church, in matters of vocation, approaches people on an individual basis. For this reason, there can be no over-institutionalized forms of support for those discerning a vocation, this support should be in a face-to-face relationship with another person – a representative of the Church.
When choosing a life path, community support is important. It is also a good idea to encourage vocation discernment during confirmation preparation.
The Church is the community of all the baptized, the place of realization of faith, the embodiment of faith in practice, the family, the environment of relationship with God. A church in which a dialogue on vocation can be held must first of all be open to this dialogue. However, the dialogue is not with the Church, but within the Church, because we are all part of the Church. The Church should help you choose your life path. In discussing vocation, various groups are important: friends, family, confessor or spiritual director, but the most important is the dialogue with God. The greatest influence on the development of faith comes from: family, friends, retreatants, communities or other people you meet, testifying with their lives. The role of a spiritual companion is very necessary in discerning a vocation, because he can look at certain things from a distance. The Church ultimately confirms a vocation in several dimensions – in the case of those about to be ordained to the priesthood or take religious vows, their superiors confirm their readiness to enter the Church’s ministry. In the case of marriage, through the sacrament, which the spouses administer to each other in the presence of a priest.
10. formation in synodality
What stands out is the statement that synodality is a very good way for the modern Church. It teaches openness to every person, dialogue, listening to others, reminds of the necessity of everyone’s service in Christ’s Church, that everyone is important and needed.
Synodality fills with hope for the revival of the Church. What is needed, however, is the constant rekindling of this flame of the Holy Spirit. There is no doubt that openness to change is essential, because the world is changing. However, vigilance is needed to follow the right path on which the Holy Spirit invites us. It is also necessary to form and continuously learn how to recognize God’s will in the life of each of us, in the life of the local Church, in the life of Christ’s Church.
Among the statements dominated the conviction that the best area for developing synodality is the Parish Pastoral Councils, provided that the parish priests want advice or even look forward to it, but it also happens even in a parish council that the pastor only presents his ideas.
In addition, it was pointed out that there is little sense of community among Christians; the same problem arises all the time. But also among pastoralists there is often disagreement, moreover, among clerics too. Despite their small number, there are disruptive individuals who ruin the community with their style of being. Constantly criticizing everything around does not lead to a common agreement. It seems, therefore, that despite the undoubted attempts of the aforementioned formation, it may be negated by the continuing storm within the Church itself and the divisions that arise. What formation is offered to support discernment and governance in a synodal manner? – For now, it is difficult to observe.
III Other suggestions and comments
General note: The synodal questions proposed by the Vademecum are incomprehensible, difficult. According to the opinion of some synod participants, this is a testament to how far Church managers have strayed from the faithful. Some people do not feel that they have any influence on decision-making at a higher level of the Church.
Some have noticed that many priests know nothing about the synod and don’t seem particularly interested in it. They are mentally distant from the subject and call synodality “Francis’ mess.”
The perceived dangers of placing the Church in the hands of the laity, democratizing it and changing doctrine according to the dictates of the majority and even the minority, were noted by many. They even ask whether the Synod is meant to be a “stampede” for the introduction of liberal ideas.
Skepticism about the idea of a synod manifested itself in outrage at the synod logo, in which a shepherd walks among the people. “The shepherd cannot go along with the flock, he is to lead it.” “There is a hierarchical structure in the Church and it should remain that way.”
In the statements of young people involved in the life of the Church, their concern for the community of believers is evident. However, most carry the image of the Church created by the liberal media and repeat the opinions heard there. Some do not even distinguish between the church as a community and the church of the building. The question is whether it is only their “fault.”
The synod provides an opportunity to hear the voice of those who until now have spoken little, or in other words that their voice is not heard.
Rev. Andrzej Tomalak diocesan synodal coordinator
Wloclawek, June 27, 2022
Diocese of Wloclawek: work on synthesis of synod on synodality completed
“Synodality fills us with hope for the revival of the Church,” is one of the main conclusions that can be drawn from the discussions that took place in the Diocese of Wroclaw within the framework of the synod on synodality.
– Numerous synodal groups have been formed in the diocese, reports Fr. Andrzej Tomalak, diocesan coordinator of the synod, adding that “the issues proposed by the Synod Vademecum were discussed by the synod. Based on the topics identified there, synodal questions tailored for young people were prepared. 21 open-ended questions were created. Questionnaires for catechists have been similarly modified.”
What shone through from the first accounts of the synod meetings was uncertainty about whether the voice of the laity, who describe themselves as “ordinary people,” would really be heard and whether they could freely express their opinions even if their voice was critical. Over time, the participants gained confidence and trust in each other. “Initially there were concerns about whether anyone would really listen to us, or maybe it would just be a ‘tick off’ event,” recalls one of the synodal participants, adding: “These were fruitful meetings that strengthened individual communities.”
By the end of May this year. 128 syntheses were submitted to the synod secretariat of the Diocese of Wloclawek. Among them are collective syntheses of deanery, parish, communities operating in the diocese, and 21 individual syntheses, among which is the voice of Senior Bishop Wieslaw Mering, who expressed the hope that “the synod will revive the faith of God’s people that in the Holy Scriptures the Church hears the voice of the living God from Sinai and the voice of Jesus Christ – its Founder and Lord.” The senior bishop of Włocławek reminded that the task of the Church is to uphold Tradition and care for the family. He also stated that “the laity today defend the Gospel, preaching it selflessly and zealously; they defend their pastors; many times they embarrass the clergy with their courage and uncompromisingness.”
The role and importance of communities within the parish was one of the essential core of the synodal discussions. It was pointed out that these groups give people support and a sense that they are not alone, and the formation meetings provide an opportunity to deepen their faith and knowledge. It was emphasized 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.
It has been noted that there is an increasing 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. Gifts and lavish parties become most important. The reasons are attributed to a declining awareness and knowledge of the sacraments and sacramental life.
Similarly, concerns were expressed about the proper attire of participants at Mass, saying that they lack a sense of the sacred, of 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 young people 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, could be an opportunity for this. In this context, it resounded that the faithful expect from their pastors wisdom and knowledge in matters of faith and morals, deep piety and prayerfulness, and above all the testimony of life, with which they will confirm the preached word.
They also pointed out the importance and need to listen to each other, especially in families (parents and children, spouses). It was pointed out that today people talk to each other more than they talk to each other. In this context, there was no shortage of discussion on the role of the media in the modern world and the Church. On the one hand, the negative impact of the media, which are increasingly replacing interpersonal relationships, was pointed out; children and adolescents’ relationships with their parents, who, seeking relaxation, allow their children to play with smartphones, tablets, etc., particularly suffer. On the other hand, the positive role of the Catholic media, which help to properly form consciences and proclaim the Gospel, was emphasized.
Touching on the issue of those remaining “on the sidelines,” it was emphasized that there is a place for everyone in the Church and no one should feel unwanted, unneeded or unwelcome. The reason for such a state is the departure from the community and the alienation of the people themselves departing from God and the Church. The reasons for this were attributed to a weak, unrooted faith, a lack of a sense of connection with the Church, a misunderstanding or lack of elementary religious knowledge that one does not go to church for the priest, but for the Lord God. It was also pointed out that the reasons for such “self-abuse” are most often misunderstandings, clashes and personal grudges in the relationship with the priest, neglect of the sacramental life, the so-called “self-abuse”. “free relationships,” a sense of self-sufficiency and a lack of spiritual needs.
Commitment to tradition
It was noted that currently in the Church, people attached to tradition remain on the margins. They objected to the Holy See’s decision to restrict the use of the extraordinary rite in the liturgy.
Asked for a few words of summary of the diocesan stage of the synod, Fr. Tomalak pointed out the dialogue that has been established and revived between people. “It’s a good sign,” admitted the diocesan coordinator of the synod, “that people have started talking to each other, listening to each other and sharing their thoughts. Of course, the basis and cause of such relationships is openness to the Holy Spirit and His voice.” Rev. Tomalak also noted that the laity took great interest in the synod and were eager to join the discussion. He also noted that people are aware of progress and technological development, but they expect the Church and pastors above all to uphold the deposit of faith and Tradition.
The words of Msgr. Krzysztof Wętkowski, who during the Mass. inaugurating the synod in the Diocese of Wloclawek, stressed that the synod that is beginning is about hearing what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church today.
Summaries of the synodal process in other dioceses, parishes and the perspective of participants in synodal meetings
Diecezjalna inauguracja procesu synodalnego odbyła się 24 października 2021 r. w ramach sesji plenarnej I Synodu Diecezji Zielonogórsko-Gorzowskiej. W jej trakcie uczestnicy synodu diecezjalnego – po wspólnej modlitwie – podjęli refleksję w mniejszych grupach nad zagadnieniami wskazanymi w Vademecum Synodu Biskupów. Ten sam materiał był również przedmiotem refleksji w parafiach całej diecezji. Konsultacje parafialne odbywały się w listopadzie i grudniu 2021 r. Miały one formę otwartych spotkań parafialnych rad duszpasterskich, w których mogli brać udział wszyscy zainteresowani włączeniem się w proces synodalny. Pisemne sprawozdania ze spotkań parafialnych zostały przekazane dziekanom, którzy w styczniu i lutym 2022 r. organizowali konsultacje dekanalne z udziałem duchowieństwa i wiernych świeckich reprezentujących poszczególne parafie dekanatu. Równolegle refleksję w ramach procesu synodalnego podejmowały również – w ramach własnych struktur – niektóre ruchy i stowarzyszenia kościelne działające na terenie diecezji. Osobom, które z różnych powodów nie chciały lub nie mogły brać udziału w opisanych wyżej konsultacjach synodalnych, stworzono możliwość refleksji indywidualnej umieszczając odpowiednie pomoce na diecezjalnej stronie internetowej.
Podsumowanie przebiegu Synodu w diecezjach Podsumowanie przebiegu Synodu w parafiach Perspektywa uczestników spotkań synodalnych Synteza parafialna z parafii pw św. Antoniego Padewskiego w Przeźmierowie (wersja
Stwierdzam, że szczególną wartością w Kościele jest aktywna obecność duszpasterzy starających się zaktywizować tych parafian, którzy jeszcze przychodzą do świątyni. Skupiają się głównie na prowadzeniu duszpasterstwa sakramentów. Wartością są także wierni, którzy żyją we wspólnotach jak Święta Rodzina w pokorze, prostocie i uwielbieniu Boga, i w których drugi to Chrystus. Słabością natomiast jest zanik duszpasterstwa ewangelizacji, gdyż nie dostrzegam działań duszpasterzy wśród ludzi, którzy do świątyni przestali przychodzić.
O synodzie pierwszy raz usłyszałem w październiku ubiegłego roku i już wtedy, nie do końca świadomy o co w nim jeszcze chodzi, wziąłem udział w spotkaniach synodalnych organizowanych w ramach spotkań liderów grup ruchu Mężczyźni św. Józefa. Niedługo potem, zostałem poproszony o organizację takich spotkań przez ks. Proboszcza własnej parafii. Organizacja spotkań wymusiła głębsze poznanie tematu i odkrycie tego, jak bardzo rozpoczęty synod jest potrzebny Kościołowi.