Parish of St. The Church of St. Michael the Archangel on Muchobor Wielki in Wrocław
Some photos and a short video created from photos from our meetings.
[Aktualizacja] What's next for the Synod in our parish?
In an effort to answer them, we created the following plan:
- We believe that now is the time for those involved in the Synod, as well as those who did not participate in the synodal meetings, but who have concern for our parish at heart, to familiarize themselves with the prepared parish synthesis document (an electronic version is available on the parish website: http://www.parafiamuchoborwielki.pl/index.php/synod-2021-2023, the paper version is available on the table with the Catholic press). In this document there are suggestions for all parishioners (faithful, community leaders, sisters, vicar priests, parish priest). So everyone can find inspiration in it, which can help build their own faith but will also serve to strengthen and build our parish. And, as a result, each of us, starting today, can proceed 🙂
- In about 6 months, we want to hold a meeting where anyone willing could share the fruits of the Synod and the actions taken as a result: What do I find valuable? What have I been able to implement? What else would I like to work on? That is, everyone would evaluate their contribution to the implementation of the synodal suggestions.
- We plan to repeat the synodal meetings in 12 months (number of meetings, form, questions to be determined). We want to develop the practice of coming together and sharing our dreams and concerns about our parish.
Parish synthesis (PDF version at bottom of page)
Brief characteristics of the parish
Parish of St. St. The number of the St. Michael the Archangel Church on Muchobor Wielki in Wroclaw is approx. 9 thousand. parishioners. The parish is staffed by Fr. The parish priest and two vicar priests. Two women’s religious houses are located in the parish: the Servites of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Silesian) and the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian).
A distinctive feature of our parish is the large number of immigrants who have lived in the parish for a short time. This makes the connection to the parish not strong, and the ties between parishioners are among the weak ones.
There are many communities, movements and prayer groups in the parish: Rosary Roses, Community of Renewal in the Holy Spirit “Zion”, Family of Blessed Stanislaus. The following groups are part of the St. Edmund Bojanowski Parish, the Domestic Church, the Men’s Prayer Community “Hussars of Mary,” the Liturgical Altar Service, the Children of Mary, the Bible Circle, the Parish Caritas Team, the Parish Choir, and the youth group.
Among the many devotions cultivated in our parish, the devotion to Our Lady of Muchobor has a local character, expressed, among other things, in the following ways. a weekly devotion and prayer recited at the end of each Mass.
Difficult beginnings of the Synod in our parish
The beginning of the Synod in our parish was not easy. Organizational activities began on 4.11.2021. The first step for the laity was to familiarize themselves with the three documents then available on the website of the Archdiocese of Wroclaw: Preparatory Document, Synodal Issues and Vademecum.
And literally it was, in the first few days, a road through the dark valley of frustration, anger, misunderstanding. All this excitement stemmed from a misunderstanding of the content of the above documents, much of it written in language that is unreadable to the ordinary believer. It was very frustrating to be expected to perform a task described in a way that we did not understand. Only after several days of wading through pages of unreadable sentences, by the end of the Vademecum, did it become clear what a wonderful gift the Synod announced by Pope Francis could be, and how much we all need it.
The fruit of this clash with the inadequate preparation of the work became a letter addressed to Fr. Archbishop Dr. Joseph Kupny. It included critical comments and suggestions for solving the problems noted. Some of these suggestions were quickly implemented on the Archdiocese’s website. And in hindsight, we can appreciate the commitment and willingness of the Synod Secretariat in our Archdiocese to help conduct the Synod. It is thanks to the support and assistance of the people working there, especially in the later stages of the synodal work, that the Synod in our parish was carried out smoothly and fruitfully (we hope).
Another fruit of this difficult beginning was the creation of synod.org.pl, which quickly became the Synod’s nationwide website on Synodality, operating under the auspices of the KEP Council for the Lay Apostolate on behalf of its chairman, Archbishop Adrian Galbas. Interestingly, proposals that could not be implemented at the diocesan level were implemented on the nationwide site (e.g., providing translated valuable synodal documents from around the world, additional presentations explaining the ideas of the Synod, short films answering the question of what the Synod is, or valuable documents to help organize the Synod prepared by other Polish dioceses).
Organization of synodal work
After understanding the meaning of the Synod and what it is, the next step was to plan the course of the synodal process in our parish. In a nutshell, the plan consisted of 5 major phases:
- Conduct presynodal meetings
- Synodal team meeting
- Conduct outreach concluding with sign-ups for synod meetings
- Conduct synodal meetings
- Prepare a parish synthesis and send it to the Synod Secretariat
We briefly describe each of the above stages below.
Conduct presynodal meetings
In preparation for the Synod, we decided to hold two presynodal meetings to convince people of the fruitfulness of the Synod and to test methods. They were undertaken by the men’s group Hussars of Mary and the “Zion” Renewal in the Holy Spirit. The meetings were held on the occasion of a pilgrimage and a formation meeting. The conclusions of these meetings were a valuable contribution to determining the final form of the synodal meetings.
Synodal team meeting
We felt that it was very important to create a moderating and annotating group that was trained and adopted the same methodology. From various parish communities, we managed to gather 14 such people.
In order to give the necessary experience to those tasked with moderating the meetings and/or creating syntheses from the meetings, among this team we held the third and final presynodal meeting, where we took into account the conclusions of the previous two, so that we were already confident about how we wanted to conduct the synodal meetings in our parish. We believe that such preparation later allowed them to be carried out smoothly.
Conduct outreach concluding with sign-ups for synod meetings
We were aware that the Synod information campaign would be crucial in encouraging our parishioners to join the meetings. Especially since there was already a lot of information in the public space that could effectively discourage participation in the Synod. We have scheduled the start of the information campaign for 1.01.2022. (about 1.5 months before the first synodal meeting). In our parish, we used all available communication channels:
- The parish website – we have prepared a special tab on it with extensive information about the Synod and its planned course in our parish. On this page there was a form to sign up for meetings.
- Sunday parish announcements – the invitation to the Synod appeared before and during the synod meetings.
- Prayer for the Synod: the call in the prayer of the faithful and the recitation of the prayer for the Synod.
- Facebook – on this page before and during the Synod, there were posts explaining the ideas of the Synod, encouraging participation and thanking people for attending.
- Poster – personalized, parochial.
- Synodal flyer – we printed a synodal flyer in a circulation of 1,000, which contained the most important information about the Synod: the dates of the meetings, the synodal meeting schedule, the topics of each meeting, and a prayer for the Synod. It should be noted that almost all the leaflets were used.
- Carol visits – during the visits, pastors in our parish invited the faithful to meetings, could leave leaflets and answer questions and concerns about the Synod.
- Encouragement of a lay person during Sunday Eucharist – during one Sunday, at each Mass (before parish announcements), a lay person involved in the organization of the Synod invited the faithful to attend synod meetings.
- Homily at the Sunday Eucharist – the day before enrollment began, Sunday’s homily dealt directly with the Synod and was an encouragement to get involved.
After such a comprehensive information campaign on 17.01.2022. We have launched an application form on the parish website www. Our goal was to involve 60 people in our Synod in our ca. 9,000-strong parish. Unfortunately, the response has been poor. We estimate that this was due to: the novelty of the Synod – people had never encountered this before; problems with the pandemic – no one wanted to declare in advance; and despite the commitment, poor promotion coverage across the parish. Therefore, we have decided that we will not close enrollment and you can come to the meetings even without signing up. In addition, we decided to put more emphasis on inviting people in person.
Eventually, as a result of the activities undertaken, 73 people (49 lay participants, 14 lay moderators/scribes and 9 consecrated persons – 6 nuns, 3 priests) applied for participation in the Synod. At least one meeting was attended by 64 people.
Conduct synodal meetings
We planned to hold four sydnodal meetings (every week) on the following topics:
- How does the church walk together?
- Conducting dialogue in the Church and society
- Power and participation
Synodal meetings were held after parish Mass in groups of up to 8 people. It was preceded by a meeting in one room, during which we informed about the purpose of our meeting, the principles of the Synod and organizational issues. This was followed by prayer and the reading of God’s word of the day. After a moment of silence each time, the drawing of groups took place (the draw was made from three baskets: moderators, consecrated, lay people). We then dispersed to the prepared rooms. We adopted the method of conducting meetings proposed in the Vademecum (Appendix B): three parts (part 1 – what I come with, part 2 – what moved me in what I heard in the first session, part 3 – what I leave the meeting with), followed by a fourth part for preparing a synthesis from the meeting. In the first three parts, everyone had 2 minutes to speak; all statements were followed by a minute of silence. Discussion was only possible in the fourth part. After the second part, we provided time for a coffee break and we all met again in the room where the synod meeting began. From each meeting we prepared a synthesis based on the syntheses of each small group. It was available via e-mail or you could get it printed at the next meeting.
We made sure that each person had a legible name tag, which allowed for more casual and direct communication during small group meetings and coffee breaks. Before or after the meeting, each participant had the opportunity to record a short statement addressed to Fr. Archbishop. Dr. Joseph Kupny or/and Pope Francis. In this way, we wanted to invite our shepherds to the synodal experience in which we participated. The prepared video is an appendix to the synthesis we sent to the Synod Secretariat.
The first meeting was held on Friday (attended by 52 people), and subsequent meetings were held on Mondays (attended by 42 to 44 people). The meetings began at g. 7 p.m., ended around 9:20 p.m.
Preparation of a parish synthesis
After the synod meetings, we proceeded to prepare a parish synthesis. It was prepared among 6 people, each of whom was responsible for one part of the synthesis. Each part was then reviewed by other team members. The final version of the document was approved by Rev. Pastor and sent in paper and electronic form to the address of the Synod Secretariat. The document was emailed to participants in the synod meetings, made available on the parish website and prepared in hard copy.
- CONTENTS OF THE SYNTHESIS
Theme of the meeting: Walking together. The synodal Church, proclaiming the Gospel, walks together.
Supporting questions: How is this “walking together” being implemented in our local Church today? What steps does the Holy Spirit invite us to take so that we grow in our “walk together”?
Running through the summaries of the various synod groups is the desire to walk together: as a parish community, as individual communities active in our parish, and as sisters and brothers joined in mutual prayer and following Jesus.
The first, opening meeting of the Synod in our parish was conceived as the one where I can tell about everything I like or don’t like about our local Church and the universal Church. The concept of “going together” is broad enough that it was possible to present all the desires as well as the pains associated with the Church. In reports after the meeting, there was joy at the opportunity to get to know each other better in these new “synodal” circumstances. Many times they expressed the joy of getting to know each other’s dreams and concerns about the universal Church and our parish, but also of learning about each other’s ways of living the faith, religious practices, and the ways by which the Lord leads us all to Himself. As one participant writes: “I sensed a spiritual bond with each participant despite the age differences and different spiritual experiences.” In another synthesis we find: “As a group we are very pleased with the meeting, we have seen anew the richness and strength of the unity of the local Church,” in another: “Thanks to this meeting we got to know each other more, we are not anonymous to each other. Through this meeting we can walk together in building our local church, the parish community.”
- The desire to walk together in the Church, the parish and the communities operating in our parish – “the parish is our common home”.
- Appreciation of the multiplicity of groups and communities operating in the parish. Every community is important and needed.
- Emphasize the importance of the Eucharist, which is the center and source of the Church’s unity.
- The desire to pray in different dimensions: for each other, for parishioners, for children and young people, families, for those who have lost their faith and are outside the Church.
- The need for evangelization, especially by the example of one’s own life, which is the most effective way to reach people outside the Church. Special attention: children, young people and married couples.
- The desire for more opportunities for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
- The need to organize another Parish Picnic – an event where you can get to know the parish and the communities within it.
- Lack of authorities in the current Church – authorities, not monumental figures.
Difficulties and problems noted:
- In order to preach the Gospel together and follow Christ together, joint planning initiatives and a well-organized flow of information are needed. A positive example of this path is the organization of the Parish Picnic, held in September 2019.
Solution: once the pandemic is over, it is worth thinking about resuming joint activities in the parish of all groups.
- Too little opportunity for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Solution: More opportunities for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and opportunities for personal prayer in silence.
- Celebrating the Eucharist.
Solution: Pay special attention to the ways in which the Eucharist is celebrated and experienced by the faithful, so that the sense of SACRUM is not lost due to too much chaos, haste, lack of proper silence and thanksgiving after receiving Holy Communion. The need for homilies at the daily Eucharist was noted. One remembers with fondness the resurrection celebrated on the morning of the Easter Sunday feast with the hope that the custom of celebrating it will return.
- Insufficient intra-parish communication, information about the fact that some communities (e.g., the Domestic Church) are active is missing or this information does not break through during announcements. The bulletin board is not sufficiently exposed.
Solution: The need for announcements, actions, promoting particular groups operating at the parish (e.g., presentation of a particular group at Mass). It is worth creating opportunities to share the testimony of faith of members of communities that can encourage people to join a particular group operating at the parish.
- Departure of youth and children from the Church.
Solution: create new forms of encouraging young people to enter the life of the Church, finding two types of meetings for them: informal and formative (communities, camps, retreats, etc.). Sensitizing parents to the fact that they are the most important transmitters of faith in God.
- Lack of sufficient concern for: young people contemplating marriage, (young) married couples, people living in non-sacramental relationships, the elderly.
Solution: give more attention in the teachings to these groups, conduct retreats exclusively for married couples, invite and create space for all these groups.
Other expressed needs and interesting and innovative ideas:
- Suggestion to join nationwide prayer initiatives for important current intentions (for the cessation of pandemics, for peace in the world, especially in Ukraine, for peace on the border with Belarus, etc.).
- Note that in order to reach out to others today, a change in mentality is often needed to make the Church “alive” and appealing to modern man.
- The desire to return to the traditional forms of prayer (e.g., hours, vespers) that accompanied the elderly and can accompany the young.
- The desire for the opportunity to participate in the pre-secular liturgy.
- The feeling was expressed that the decisions of the church hierarchy are sometimes politicized, unjust, which brings scorn and a sense of injustice (using the example of the annulment of a church wedding and the lavish subsequent wedding of a high-profile politician).
- Avoiding certain “difficult” topics is a danger and causes a life of regret, a departure from the Church. The opinion that the case of Card. Gulbinovich has not been adequately explained.
- There was a proposal to meet with authorities and church hierarchs in our parish.
- Praying in silence as a way to open ourselves to God’s action in our lives.
- The opinion that the communities in the Church are a remedy for anonymity, but the importance of people in the Church who do not have the need to be in community, but live SAKRAMENTS, cannot be diminished either.
- A threat to the parish and the community is the temporary housing so common in our district.
- Base prayers and activities in communities and parishes on love (based on Jesus Christ), this gives unity without rivalry with each other. What is needed is dialogue, openness and listening to each other. Jesus is Truth and Love. It is important to preach the truth and go out to people with love.
- At the center of the Church is the Lord God, and the paths to Him are different for each person. Our goal is to build a relationship with God. We form a community based on Jesus Christ.
- We should not rashly judge and evaluate others.
- We walk together under the mantle of Mary.
- The community is for evangelization, we are to be open to every person (acceptance, tolerance).
- Fidelity to the Church despite everything.
Theme of the meeting: Celebrating: “Walking together” is only possible if it is based on community listening to the Word and celebrating the Eucharist.
Guiding questions: How does prayer and celebration affect the formation of our community? How do they inspire the most important decisions? What are we doing to ensure that all the faithful take an active part in the liturgy? What responsibilities are entrusted to the laity?
The first observation after reading the syntheses of all the groups participating in the second synodal meeting in our parish is the great need for a deep relationship with God. It is expressed through reverence for the Word and a desire to enjoy the Eucharist and prayer initiatives held here more fully. What is both touching and disturbing is the clear call (almost a cry) for a return to tradition, albeit in varying degrees of intensity: from the need to give God his due honor through a more solemn setting for the liturgy, silence and contemplation, to clear calls for the restoration of the Tridentine rite Mass. Divergences have actually appeared only on this ground: tradition versus greater openness to modernism and modernity. Participants in the meeting signaled several pressing problems affecting our community, and there were numerous and interesting ideas for solving them. What shines through from many of the speeches is concern for the preservation of the faith in our community and families, and gratitude to the priests for the opportunity to attend Mass every day during a difficult time for everyone when the church gates are closed.
- Our parish is a place for the realization of different spiritualities thanks to numerous communities and prayer groups. Everyone can find the right form of development for themselves. Unity in Diversity.
- Awareness that the Eucharist is the greatest gift through which we unite with the Lord God and thus become a true community of God’s children. Unity at the Lord’s Table as the basis for fruitful cooperation for the benefit of our parish.
- The importance of the importance of an intimate relationship with the Lord God. Only then can we stand in unity in community prayer, when we take care of the quality of personal prayer and meditation on God’s word.
- Respect for the Word read and the form of celebration.
- Respect for Tradition.
- Gratitude to priests for their ministry, deep and spiritual sermons, commitment.
- Knowing that our participation in the Liturgy is a testimony of faith to parishioners.
Difficulties and problems noted and proposals for their solution:
- Deficiencies among the faithful in knowledge of the Catechism of the CC, the Decalogue, Tradition (the teaching of the Church fathers, the lives of the saints), knowledge of the various parts of the Eucharist (e.g., the meaning of gestures, objects used). Lack of knowledge about how to behave in particular areas of the church (e.g., in front of the tabernacle). All this does not allow you to participate fruitfully in Mass.
The solution: retreats and adult catechization. Masses dedicated to particular groups, such as married couples, children, youth. Emphasize the value of prayer and meditation on Scripture for a deeper experience of the Mass. Strengthen the desire to attend the Eucharist among children (catechists have a great influence on children’s spiritual development).
- Failure to develop in believers the ability to defend their faith.
The solution: catechetical and apologetic sermons.
- Raise attention to the way God’s Word is read.
Solution: training in reading the Word and behavior at the altar, God’s Word displayed on a screen while reading, for visual learners.
- Failure to give glory to the Lord God by going too far in abandoning the beauty and rich symbolism of the traditional celebration of the liturgy.
Solution: More space for silence, contemplation, longer adoration of the Lord Jesus after transubstantiation, appropriate choice of hymns, more frequent recited Masses, longer intervals between Masses would give time for silence and openness to God’s presence, celebrating one Eucharist celebrated in a solemn manner every Sunday (with a procession with the Gospel at the entrance, with an incense, with the carrying of gifts), no restrictions on the ability of those who wish to attend Mass in the Tridentine rite.
- The role of communities: preparation by various communities of the liturgy to be a work of God involving as much as possible the leader as well as the survivors.
- Little active activity by the faithful during the celebration.
Solution: encouraging lay people coming to Mass to take an active part in the liturgical celebration: reading the Word of God, prayers of the faithful, inviting those who used to serve Mass or have experience in participating in the liturgy to rediscover the beauty of the experience.
- The role of the lay steward. Rethinking the need for a lay minister to administer Holy Communion to a small number of the faithful, especially at daily Masses.
- Escape from the Church’s handling of difficult topics.
Other expressed needs and interesting and innovative ideas:
- Prayer, exorcism to St. The parish will be open to St. Michael the Archangel (patron saint of the parish) after each Mass.
- Explaining during the homily the meaning of God’s Word based on biblical languages.
- An exhortation to repentance.
- The need for regular inter-community meetings and more opportunities to present each community to the general faithful. The role of priests in directing the right people to the right groups.
- The need for community prayer related to current events, such as for world peace, extending this intercessory prayer to families, children and consecrated persons for the sanctity of their lives.
- Daily and constant prayer for world peace.
- Possibility of daily adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
- The Church should show the importance of Tradition. It is important to cultivate the living traditions of the local community, even though they do not have to be completely consistent with the patterns of the liturgy (local prayer tradition).
Meeting topic: Conducting dialogue in the Church and society: Dialogue requires perseverance and patience, but it also enables mutual understanding.
Guiding questions: to what extent do different people in our community come together to dialogue? What are the places and ways of dialogue within our parish? How are differences of opinion, conflicts and difficulties resolved? What are we doing to cooperate with religious communities, with associations and lay movements? What experiences of dialogue and joint engagement do we have with followers of other religions and with people outside the Church? How does the Church dialogue with and learn from other institutions of society: the world of politics, economics, culture, civil society and people living in poverty?
Synod members unanimously stressed the need for dialogue in the universal Church and our parish. However, they didn’t just reduce it to a conversation. It is much more than that: “For us, dialogue is an attitude of love and openness. It’s meeting the other person and at the same time being willing to accept that I don’t always have to be right. It is also a willingness to lean on another person, his life, views, difficulties, or give up trying to impose one’s own opinion, one’s thoughts on another,” reads one synthesis. Another group adds, “Dialogue leads to knowledge of God and each other” – so it becomes a form of evangelization. How to dialogue: “In dialogue, only Jesus can unite us in the Holy Spirit,” writes another group, and further adds, “Dialogue is meant to bring us closer, to build us up, not to convince everyone to be right.” Another supplements this with the words: “Conducting dialogue in the Church should be done on the model of Christ through openness and faithfulness to the Gospel.” What is needed for dialogue? “For dialogue you need a space, that is, a place where people can meet, where everyone can find each other (such as communities and parish groups). You also need time, which you are willing to devote to the other person (…). After all – a common goal is needed in dialogue – dialogue is supposed to lead to unity, not division.” How do you prepare to conduct a dialogue? “If we want to dialogue then we should first of all have a foundation, know who we are, what we do and why we do it. (…) The basis for dialogue is the relationship with Jesus and Mary,” is an excerpt from the synthesis of the next group. “Sometimes dialogue can be just listening and standing by the other person. (…) Sometimes dialogue can also be an act, a response to the need of the other, taking the form of active love of neighbor. Such dialogue is mainly a charitable activity,” writes one group, while another supplements this with the following words: “In dialogue, openness is important, one may not say a word, but bear witness.”
Forms of dialogue in our parish:
- Communities actively embodying the teaching of Christ include: Renewal in the Holy Spirit “Zion”, Hussars of Mary, Marianas, Home Church, Living Rosary, “Family of Blessed Edmund Bojanowski”, Bible Circle.
- Carol visit – an opportunity to get to know Parishioners and Priests personally, to learn about their needs and expectations.
- Charity – Caritas team responding to the current needs of parishioners living in poverty.
- Interaction with religious communities – Sisters of the Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Salesian Sisters (conducting schola, Children of Mary “Marianas”).
Dialogue with people close to us who have equal or similar values seems simpler because we find common ground with them. When it comes to dialogue with people who have different values, it is much more difficult. However, it is an opportunity to bear witness, such as in the workplace or residence. Then the dialogue is not just words, but our attitude.
Dialogue as a means of resolving disputes due to the homogeneity of the group was not addressed with regard to our parish. What emerged in the context, however, was the lack of dialogue at the central level – in church authorities and among politicians. The lack of dialogue and the tightening of the law have further polarized society.
- Proposal to create a Parish Council.
- Initiatives that can help dialogue in our parish (creating a meeting place where dialogue can take place):
- places for social gatherings (cafe, reading room, place for games of various kinds, such as board games, chess)
- Counseling centers (e.g., psychological, legal, pedagogical)
- There is a need for dialogue with the youth, who are now leaving the Church in such large numbers.
- The desire to strengthen cooperation between communities operating in the parish (e.g., a day of communities in the parish, the organization of meetings along the lines of the Synod).
- Need to provide more effective information about groups operating in the parish.
Difficulties and problems noted:
- Lack of ability to listen to other people, to understand – a problem for children and the wider adult population.
Solution: organize retreats, workshops and lectures related to communication.
- The problem with the flow of information, the feeling that we do not know what is happening in the parish.
Solution: Need to present and promote parish groups, testimony and personal contact between parishioners and those involved is important. It would be useful to put more information on the website about the groups operating at the parish. Finding such forms in the electronic media that will clearly, legibly and comprehensively communicate the ideas of the parish and its communities. Hold more frequent thematic meetings (similar to the synodal ones) to talk to each other.
- Lack of dialogue with young people.
Solution: There is a need to hear the voice of the young (excursions: to the mountains, cycling, tournaments, sports competitions, organizing pilgrimages, let them act, give them responsibility and give them confidence, because then it awakens in them the desire for involvement and development, gives energy to take on new challenges).
Other expressed needs and interesting and innovative ideas:
- Take care of the remains of the Evangelical cemetery located near the school – as a form of stepping out towards ecumenical dialogue.
- Real help for those in need – within the parish.
- There should be people in the parish – groups that will be responsible for organizing various actions.
- Perpetual Adoration(dialogue with God), create such a place in our Church.
- The need to conduct retreats with an extended schedule (the possibility of meetings with the retreatant and participants in the hall).
- Dialogue open to diversity within the Catholic Church.
- Jesus Christ is a model in conducting a dialogue with those who are open to His word, His teaching.
- Our faith is so rich that we do not need to adopt from other faiths their traditions.
- Mary is the Mediatrix of graces between us and Jesus.
- Dialogue is a relationship of I – God, I – the other person, I – with myself.
- Why is the resurrection on Easter in the evening and not in the morning?
- It is useful to be in a community, a group, so that closer relationships are established.
- Dialogue in any community, including religious, is not easy, it becomes possible based on who we live for; each person comes from a different background and a school of dialogue, sharing the Word of God, is needed.
- Interpreting the Bible and the truths of the faith according to one’s own expectations can lead to a departure from the Church.
- The need to bear witness to the faith in the world (despite difficulties).
- When my relationship with God is based on dialogue, it has a positive effect on the relationship with other people.
- Rosary prayer a form of dialogue with God.
- Encouraging families to pray together.
Theme of the meeting: Authority and participation: the synodal Church is a participatory and co-responsible Church.
Who determines the community goals to be pursued, how they will be achieved, and the steps to be taken? How is authority exercised in our Church? In which situations do we experience teamwork and shared responsibility? How are the ministries and responsibilities of the laity promoted? How do parish councils and other advisory bodies like communities function? Are they a fruitful experience?
Perhaps not every group that discussed the topic of authority and participation in the Church during the Synod articulated this truth, but it was clear to all that the highest authority in the Church is held by Christ, the others are “unhelpful servants” (Luke 17:10). Sacramentally, priests were given the threefold power of sanctification, teaching and ruling. In our parish, the power is in the hands of Fr. Pastor. He has a heavy responsibility, as there are high expectations of his ministry from parishioners. Recognizing the hierarchical authority in the Church, the faithful want their priest to be a shepherd, not a hireling (John 10:11-13). The faithful want to feel heard in the Church, welcomed into the community. They expect shepherds to be close to the people leading them to Christ. The shepherd is supposed to be a leader (he should have competence and authority, but listen to the people). The Church needs charismatic shepherds, especially today, at a time when all authority has been lost. They stressed the need for the church hierarchy to show the way clearly and to uphold the deposit of faith. However, the attitude of the clergy must not close the space for the faithful to discuss and listen.
On the other hand, Synod participants note the need for the faithful to get involved in parish life. On the one hand, it’s about taking care of the Church’s good name and testifying about the Church with your life. On the other hand, active involvement in initiatives organized in the parish. The activity of parishioners is important, because as one group emphasizes: “Co-responsibility for the Church is responsibility for oneself and for one’s spiritual development, to which we are called and obligated.” In addition, our involvement can be an example for others, for “a good example helps open others to life in the Church and to the faith.” But unfortunately (as another group notes) “there is a tendency to avoid responsibility (aseism) among parishioners.”
Synod participants emphasized the role of the Parish Council: “We came to the conclusion that it is necessary to establish a Parish Council that provides effective assistance and support to the Parish Priest, especially in financial and administrative matters, which would also foster the involvement of people with valuable experience and skills,” writes one synod group. The next group completes this as follows: “The Parish Council should not only be composed of people elected by the pastor, but also of people elected by parishioners and people coming in ex officio. The Parish Council is an advisory voice in administrative matters so that the pastor can deal with pastoral and sacramental services. The Parish Council is a ministry to the Church and is responsible to the entire parish (…) Responsibility in the parish lies with the Pastor, who should be supported by the Parish Council.”
In addition to priests and the Parish Council, parish communities and groups have a major impact on the parish. Lay leaders should be mindful of spiritual development and staying in unity with Church teachings. The involvement of their members enables parishes to grow, and they are an excellent tool for evangelization, to win more people for Jesus. The diversity of communities allows people of different spiritualities to find their place in the Church and to engage in different initiatives. Interestingly, during the Synod, there was an emphasis on the need to promote communities in the parish, as well as mutual communication between communities and cooperation between groups, such as through parish picnics, charitable activities, and informal inter-community meetings.
The impact of the pandemic period on the Church is assessed differently. Some people believe that the Church has given in too much to pressure from secular authorities, such as limits on the number of worshippers in churches. Others expect the Church not to follow what is fashionable, worldly, but to uphold Tradition, hence the desire for the opportunity to attend Tridentine Masses, the longing for the Resurrection Mass celebrated at dawn on Easter Sunday.
- Gratitude to Fr. The parish priest for his past service (including not giving in to pressure from secular authorities, openness to suggestions from parishioners and efforts to meet their needs).
- The conviction that the Church should not succumb to the pressures of the world – it should be subject to God and the Gospel.
- There should be space to discuss and listen to the faithful, but the faithful should also be aware of rules that cannot be changed. Recognition of hierarchy in the Church.
- The great importance of communities in the life of the parish.
- The need for a Parish Council.
- The need to support the priests working in our parish with prayer.
- The need for the Church’s Teaching Office to point in a common direction.
Difficulties and problems noted:
- Incomprehensible decisions made in the parish, such as the lack of favor for Tridentine Masses.
Solution: There are often objective obstacles, but a sense of listening and explaining the decisions made builds acceptance.
- Insufficient communication between communities.
Solution: Responsible persons from different communities should meet with each other at least once a year to discuss together the commitment to the works for the parish for the year.
Other expressed needs and interesting and innovative ideas:
- It is necessary to look for ways to attract young people to the Church.
- The Church should take part in bringing charity, but the main task is to care for the faith.
- Today, spiritual help is being replaced by psychological help. The Church must not give up its mission.
- Crisis situations unite and provoke common goals and decisions.
- Authority is responsibility for others, to serve with love, is the effort to carry the Church on one’s shoulders.
- The need to separate the morning resurrection.
- Restore the use of the paten when giving Communion.
- The direction of initiatives in the parish can go from the top down, but also from the bottom up.
- Authority can be authoritarian, democratic or synodal – one person decides, but listens to all who want to speak.
- The desire is for there to be an effective platform for communication between clergy, those already involved in communities, and those still seeking their place or function in the parish.
The Synod in the life of our parish was a completely new experience. Many of us had concerns stemming from a lack of an idea of what these meetings would look like. This was the first time we were able to hear each other in an organized way – we usually only see each other in church pews. For many of us, the breakthrough moment was the first meeting, which took place on 18.02.2022. During this meeting, we learned its formula and felt the value of hearing from brothers and sisters in the faith. The participants in each group were also clergy, so we had the opportunity to look at the topics discussed from their perspective as well. Listening to the other person is not always easy, but the format of the meetings made it possible to reign in situations where differences in perception of an issue were significant. It should also be noted that a significant number of participants were members of the communities active in our parish. We felt the importance and necessity of each of these groups, which perform various tasks according to their vocation and charism.
The basis of all the conclusions that arose during our meetings was fidelity to the Gospel, expressed in God’s commandments. So let’s break down the findings by grouping them into points:
Testimony of life, our personal relationship with God
We should remember that we testify most strongly to our faith with our daily lives. It is possible to speak beautifully about God, and with your actions deny the professed truths of faith. As parents, we are responsible for shaping the younger generation. We must not forget that it is the parents who sow the seeds of faith, and if parents do not take care of this, the efforts of priests, sisters, the Church may not be enough. Let’s take care of the development of our faith, our personal relationship with God. The prerequisites for the development of our faith are prayer, the use of the sacraments, reading the word of God, reading Catholic books, attending Mass and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. As members of the Church community, let us pray for ourselves, and ask for the grace of continual conversion, so that the fruits of our personal relationship with God will be a “light in the darkness” for the other members of the Church.
Functioning of communities
In terms of the operation of the communities, we saw several issues that can be improved.
- Inter-community communication – there is a need to improve inter-community communication, this could include the creation of an online inter-community group, which will include the email addresses of all its members.
- Information about communities – it would be useful to consider how to talk about the communities in operation to further encourage people to join them. Perhaps it’s a matter of how often, how or in what form we talk about communities.
- Community events – the desire for interesting events in the parish, such as the parish picnic, is very evident. Encouraging young people to become actively involved in the life of the parish by organizing joint trips, pilgrimages, camps combined with retreats. Building unity among communities through shared Eucharist, prayer and service to the poor. A desire for joint inter-community meetings, such as a parish community day.
The need for a Parish Council and the issue of cooperation with the parish priest and vicar priests
During the meetings, the issue of the creation of a Parish Council as a space to discuss and listen to the faithful came up very often. This council should support Rev. Pastor. It should be an advisory voice on administrative, financial issues, foster the involvement of people with valuable experience and skills. The desire to pray for our priests resounded significantly. It also noted the need for the hierarchy to be respected when working with our clergy. However, this should be accompanied by the realization that many initiatives in the Church are grassroots, and looking at their fruits, one can see the work of the Holy Spirit.
Evangelization open to dialogue with every person
Synod participants recognize the difficulty in dialogue of being expected to succumb to the realities of the modern world and adapt the truths of our faith to the reality around us. By God’s grace during the meetings, we persisted in the conviction that our speech is to be “Yes, yes; no, no. And what is above is from the Evil One.” We realized that we don’t need to understand each other’s needs, sometimes it’s enough to just be, not to push away, not to judge too hastily. First of all, pray for those we do not understand, especially those who have drifted away from God. Let’s also not forget that dialogue has the task of bringing people closer, building them up, and not forcefully persuading them to be right.
Eucharist, adoration, taking care of the proper setting of the Mass
There were a lot of different suggestions on this issue, let’s try to list them:
- We noticed a desire for more frequent adoration, adoration in silence.
- Taking care of the sense of SACRUM during the liturgy.
- The desire to celebrate solemn Masses regularly (more often than before).
- Allowing well-prepared lectors to read the Word of God.
- Reciting the prayer to St. The event will be held at St. Michael the Archangel’s Cathedral at the end of the Mass.
- Limiting the ministry of the steward when there are not many people in the church.
- The return of the paten ministry during Holy Communion.
- Enabling participation in the Mass. Tridentine.
- Making the faithful aware of what the Mass is, explaining the symbolism of the different parts of the Mass during the homily.
- There was also a frequent need to return to Mass. Resurrection for Sunday morning (gives more joy, does not suffer as much fatigue as in the current form).
- Remembering that secular authority ends at the threshold of the temple.
The Church our home, responsibility in the Church:
Participants in the meetings recognized that the faithful should take care of the good name of the Church and testify about their Church. Persist in it despite all difficulties. Each of us is responsible for his image in the world. It is also a strong desire for the emergence of space to discuss and listen to the faithful, but the faithful should be aware of the existence of rules that cannot be changed. Guides should guard steadfastly the deposit of faith, is the difficulty of today’s times. The question of the pain that arises in the heart because of the bad things that happen in the Church was also recognized. This pain seems to get worse the deeper the divisions among the church hierarchy, especially because of the lack of unanimity among pastors on fundamental issues. The time of the pandemic was for many of us a kind of test of faith in God’s omnipotence, which in the greatest and most difficult experiences of life is the only hope for a better tomorrow. In this situation, we needed greater assertiveness from church authorities on state-imposed restrictions and limits on worshippers in temples. There was also a need for greater lay involvement in parish activities.
Nationwide prayer initiatives; Retreat faith development programs
They noted the need for personalized retreats and conferences related to people’s condition, age, or life situation, as well as a return to catechism teachings. For many, proof of the Church’s universality is the parish’s involvement in various nationwide initiatives, for example, blogoslawienstwodlapolski.pl, devotion33.pl, adoracjabezgranic.pl.
Taking care of young people and children in the Church
In view of the widespread departure of the younger generation from the Church, many ideas have emerged that could reverse this unfavorable trend (e.g., the organization of camps combined with retreats for children and young people, trips to the mountains, bicycle tours, tournaments, sports competitions, the organization of pilgrimages). To this end, it is worth listening to the voice of the young – give them responsibility and give them confidence, because then the desire for involvement and development is awakened in them.
Let’s pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us in actions that will bear the kind of fruit in our Parish that God expects of us.