Austen Ivereigh, exposes in an article published on Commonweal Magazine his experience and reflections of the Synodal process.
The article starts reflecting on the gathering of religious congregations and orders, that focused on their synodal experiences and knowledge along the centuries and in recent years, two elements are highlighted: First, the inclusion of the whole body into the discernment and decision-making, as stated by Pope Francis in 2015 “what affects everyone should be discussed and approved by all”; and secondly, that “consultation and deliberation is not separate from the life of prayer but intrinsic to it”, so in the common spaces there is a true spirit of listening to one another and to the Holy Spirit.
Then the article focus on the four days in which took place the inauguration of the Synod on Synodality, including the papal Mass at St. Peter’s, and the working days of the Synodal commissions.
The author remembers a sentence expressed by Pope Francis at the beginning of the family synod to the participants which is today even more relevant “speak boldly and listen carefully”.
The article describes some of the main speakers and interventions, and then focuses on how in the small and diverse groups, different members contribute to the deliberation from different perspectives, gifts and experiences, enriching the whole process and outcomes.
During these days, it is transmitted a mix of expectations, perspectives, experiences, and roles which interwove resulting in a true synodal experience, which is a glimpse of the magnificent task that is being undertaken with limited resources and a great commitment by the synod leadership team and the four commissions.
The author ends the article with the conviction that a Synodal Church is what God asks of Catholicism in the Third Millennium, and through speaking boldly and listen carefully, “not another but a different Church will come forth”.