Parish synthesis from the parish of Divine Providence in Jaworze.
Javanese synodality, or sensus fidelium (sense of faith) in practice
In March this year. The parish phase of the synodal road work has ended. During a very short period of time, a total of 6 meetings were held in our parish, during which the following synodal issues were reflected upon: “Dialogue in Church and Society,” “Listening,” “Forming in Synodality,” “Taking the floor,” “Companions on the journey,” “Discernment and decision-making,” and “Co-responsibles.”. The general meetings, which all parishioners were invited to attend, were also attended by representatives of each parish community. As a result of joint consideration of synodal issues, the following dreams and desires for the Church to follow the path of authentic growth in faith were born:
The first desire expressed is holiness. The Church (understood as a community of believers) needs, above all, holy people. Holiness, on the other hand, requires conversion, which applies to everyone, without exception – not only the laity, but also bishops and priests. Participants in the meetings want such priests in the Church who, through their holiness, will help the faithful grow in faith and holiness.
The second desire expressed in the meetings is to proclaim the Truth. In evangelizing the modern world, the Third Millennium Church should proclaim and defend the Truth – the whole Truth that is fully revealed in the Catholic Church. This call applies not only to the teaching of all the Truths of Faith, but also to unchanging moral principles. According to many participants, the Church should be faithful to its mission, i.e. to proclaim the Good News of Salvation, to be a voice of opposition to the spirit of this world and the salt of the earth (distinct in taste). The faithful want the Church not to be afraid to proclaim the Truth, to have the courage to call evil (sin) evil and to proclaim all the Truths of the Faith, including those concerning eschatology and the consequences associated with sin. The Church should say, Yes, yes; no, no! In his teaching, he should also turn more often to the Truth contained in the Church’s Tradition. In addition, the hierarchical Church (bishops and priests) should speak with one voice and proclaim one Truth – clear and transparent to all believers, without division or internal disputes. The Church should be true, i.e. preach the whole Gospel, and authentic, i.e. live the preached doctrine. The Church, open to a changing world, should not abandon any of the commandments and its existing teaching (the Deposit of Faith).
The third desire is to preserve the sacred. The Church should surround the Blessed Sacrament with special reverence and respect, and strongly emphasize that God is present under the forms of bread and wine, and at Mass. The Sacrifice of the Cross is made present. The way the liturgy is celebrated should be theocentric, i.e. emphasizing that God should always be at the center of the liturgy. Care should be taken to ensure that all forms of worship are vertical in nature (directed upward – toward God) rather than horizontal, i.e. focused on the individual and his personal experiences. It was important, according to some, that liturgical norms and rules be followed more, i.e. that eccentricity, arbitrariness and experiments that could lead to abuse be avoided during the celebration of the liturgy. A community of believers engaged in the celebration of the liturgy through proper preparation should strive more to show its beauty than to “beautify” it. The fourth desire isevangelization. God’s people (including priests), when undertaking a mission of evangelization, should focus more on their own spiritual formation than on the action itself, which will be effective when it flows from personal holiness and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In the spiritual formation of lay people, small communities are crucial, and although they have different charisms, they should live according to one spirit (the Christian spirit). Diversity is the richness of sharing the experience of faith and provides an opportunity to find ways to reach everyone with the Gospel. The first and most important way of evangelization should be the example of one’s own life, which radiates the Holy Spirit and will draw others to God. The tree will bear good fruit provided it is good itself – listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. And will let Him lead the way. Any evangelization campaign (which is, of course, needed) will bear fruit if it is supported by the testimony of life.
Our dreams and desires have been conveyed to the Bielsk curia and, a little half-jokingly, half-seriously, I quietly hope that they will also reach the right people in the Vatican:). In addition, more than a dozen specific pastoral proposals were made during the synodal meetings, which I forwarded to our priests to consider with the Parish Council how to use them.
In closing, I would like at this point to thank very sincerely and warmly all those who were present at the synodal meetings. In a special way, I thank you for your votes and very valuable comments, which I hope will bear good fruit not only for our parish community, but also for the Universal Church.
Jozef Heczko – coordinator