A parish synthesis from the parish of St. Peter. St. Mary Magdalene in Cieszyn
SYNODAL ROAD REPORT
IN THE PARISH OF SAINT MARIA MAGDALENA IN CIESZYN
- TRAVEL COMPANIONS
Community provides an opportunity to discover the Church, and the Church is rich through the diversity of communities. We recognize that building small communities is important, their diversity should be large enough for everyone to find, in any of them, their place. Communities of the Church give us the opportunity to: walk together, support not only spiritually, but also directly in daily life, establish and build relationships with others, discover Christ and ourselves through the Liturgy and the Word of God. We recognize the importance of a strong family for the building of the Church’s communities, as the first community in which a person comes to know Christ, it is the place of growth of our faith, prayer and witness. We also note that it is witnessing that is an important aspect of the life of a Christian, it is witnessing not only with words, but also with our whole life, especially in the daily environments to which we are sent. A valuable experience of community life is that each of us recognizes our place in the Church, where we can fulfill our mission according to the gifts and talents we have received. Everyone is for the community, not the community for him.
In the Church, we see the need to find lay leaders who will draw people behind them, forming new circles in the communities. Community meetings cannot be confined to the church building, we see the need to open up to building parish meeting places, along the lines of cafes, where everyone will be able to receive not only coffee or cake, but also the Good Word, openness, warmth and conversation. We see many opportunities – communication/family planning workshops, interest workshops, interest/film nights, etc., through which the Church will be able to encourage, over time, especially young people to become involved in the communities and life of the Church.
We recognize that daily Adoration, made possible in the parish chapel, is a great treasure for us. Every person in the local church community can use it.
Left, nicely framed quotations from the Word of God, are very popular in our parish and are a good way to spread the reading of Scripture. We also experience enrichment with the Word of God during Homilies, delivered not only at Sunday Eucharist, but also during the week. A small community, meditating on God’s Word together, is also a good place to grow.
In our lives, in the Liturgy, in prayer – we need silence, it is the cure for the evils of this world.
Homilies, addressed to the People, should be addressed to every person, regardless of their level of commitment to the faith. You can listen not only to priests, but also to laymen in communities, for the reason that they preach from a different perspective and with a different experience.
In our opinion, it is a good idea for parishioners to join in the Liturgy of the Word at Mass, even in a spontaneous way.
We also recognize the problem of developing criticism directed against the Church as an institution, as well as the Church as the Living Body of Christ. Criticism provides various opportunities, from raising questions about faith, and then it can be edifying, to creating a very bad public opinion, which the media puts in the public’s mouth. Our task is to proclaim the Truth with a demonstrated, unconditional respect for every neighbor.
The Synod is the first opportunity for us to speak out about the functioning of the Church, and we want to learn the way. Priests want to hear the voice of parishioners in order to build the local community together with them.
There is a great need for the lay faithful to enter the life of the parish, and thus the Church. It is important to pick up what the Holy Spirit is saying here and now to the Church, here we see the important role of leaders of small communities. We bring our experience to the parish and learn from the experience of others.
Due to the presence of the Protestant Church and many other Christian denominations in our parish, the concept of ecumenism is very close to us. Among the people around us, we have mixed marriages, children meet from an early age with brothers and sisters from other communities in kindergartens and schools, and we enter into friendship relationships with each other. The aforementioned activities have a very positive impact on building communities in action across divides. As a parish, we undertake ecumenical activities during joint services, and our pastors visit each other during many celebrations, we also unite on the occasion of important state occasions, and we organize a unique Ecumenical Epiphany procession. However, this reconciliation applies only to the Evangelical community; unfortunately, other communities living in our city do not want to join in joint prayers. However, we have not given up hope that in the future the other groups will accept the invitation to do so.
We recognize that the most important thing in ecumenism is respect for the other and building relationships between people. We can, after all, come together in many activities.
However, we see many problems on the road to full Ecumenism, the most important of which are: stereotypes, habits, and above all, a mutual lack of knowledge of the basics of the spirituality of our faith communities, which often leads to misunderstanding and disagreement, this also becomes an obstacle to building relationships.
It becomes extremely important to build a religious identity from the very beginning, from childhood. We see that the higher religious identity of both parties has a positive effect on building healthy interpersonal relationships.
In the current situation, we also want to open up to the Orthodox and Greek Catholic Church communities, which are increasing with the influx of emigrants from the East. We look for many opportunities to help newcomers grow spiritually in their faith community, including opportunities to participate in appropriate liturgy.
- DISCERNMENT AND DECISION-MAKING
We believe that discernment should take place before the Blessed Sacrament, among other things. A great value in our parish is the possibility of all-day adoration. We should all discern, both in “big” and “small” matters. At the beginning of discernment, it is useful to seek your ideas, present them to God and observe the emotions that arise. It is necessary to look for where the emotions in question have their source (wonder why these particular emotions arise) and ultimately reject what is “typically mine” and not God’s. Likewise, it would be good to encourage others to discern. Wondering how we could teach them discernment, we come to the conclusion that we need to talk about the necessity of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, study of the Holy Scriptures (not even at “random,” but as a planned reading – e.g., the Readings of the day), feeding on the Eucharist, analyzing one’s own life experience, assessing the “scale of peace” when considering a particular decision (i.e., the “scale of peace”). Putting oneself in several situations/perspectives/potential decisions and weighing which one gives the greatest peace of heart), “rethinking” the issue at hand and returning to particular actions until true peace is achieved (a corresponding “stirring of the heart”) when choosing a particular course of action. There can be great value in talking to other people, but remember to listen more to God than to man. The key principle in life, but also precisely in discernment, seems to be “if God comes first, everything else stays right.” During discernment, it’s also worth asking yourself, “what would Jesus do in my place?”
We see value in obedience to the Church and fidelity to its teachings. We know examples of people who, thanks to their obedience to the Church, are a certain model today, and what they preached enjoys the approval and recognition of the entire Church (e.g., S. Faustina Kowalska). We see that perseverance in the Church’s teachings bears good fruit. In our opinion, false prophets can reveal themselves by the fact that they are unwilling to “think through” issues, listen to the Church and wait for the Church to change its position (an example of some of the suspended). We believe that it is difficult to “discern spirits” for people who are not yet established in the faith, since false prophets often say – seemingly – good things.
- FORMATION IN SYNODALITY
We agree that despite the end of the Synod, it would be good to continue meeting in the synod group. There are many issues to discuss – important for our local Church – and we see the need to continually return to synodal issues, to ask ourselves the questions posed on the synodal path. Our task is to ignite others to change the Church and care about its affairs.