Local Consultation Chiang Mai Diocese Pre-Synodal Meeting
The Church of God is convoked in Synod. The path entitled “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission” solemnly opened on the 9th – 10th of October 2021 in Rome and on the following 17th of October in each particular Church. One fundamental stage will be the celebration of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, in October 2023, which will be followed by the implementation phase that will again involve the particular Churches (cf. EC, arts. 19-21).
In preparation for the Synod 2021-2023, the consultation process will be conducted at different levels, especially at the Diocesan level. Through this, the entire church is invited to “reflect on a theme that is decisive for its life and mission”. The objective of the current Synod is to listen, as the entire People of God, to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church. We do so by listening together to the Word of God in Scripture and the living Tradition of the Church, and then by listening to one another, and especially to those at the margins, discerning the signs of the times…it aims at fostering a lived experience of discernment, participation, and co-responsibility, where a diversity of gifts is brought together for the Church’s mission in the world.” This initial stage of the synodal process provides the basis for all the different phases of the synod preparation.
In this initial stage of the local consultation, the active participation of the Catholic faithful is imperative, so we would like to ask your collaboration in responding to some questions on certain themes. Following are some selected themes that you can discuss in groups to help make the exchange of views and experiences richer and fuller. They should be adapted to the different local contexts and integrated, explained, simplified, and deepened, with particular attention paid to those who have more difficulty in participating and responding. It is important that as a group, you allow yourselves to experience this synodality of the Church, which is a community experience of profound sharing and listening. More than simply responding to the questionnaire, this phase is meant to offer to the faithful a synodal experience of listening to one another and walking forward together, guided by the Holy Spirit. We hope that “the different groups of questions can concretely inspire moments of prayer, formation, reflection, and exchange.”
I. THE JOURNEYING COMPANIONS
In the Church and in society, we are side by side on the same road. In your local Church, who are the ones “journeying together”? When we say: “our Church,” who is part of it? Who is asking us to journey together? Who are the road companions, including those outside the ecclesial perimeter? What persons or groups are left on the margins, expressly or in fact?
Listening is the first step, but it requires having an open mind and heart, without prejudices. To whom does our particular Church “need to listen to”? How are the Laity, especially young people and women, listened to? How do we integrate the contribution of Consecrated Men and Women?
What space is there for the voice of minorities, the discarded, and the excluded? Do we identify prejudices and stereotypes that hinder our listening? How do we listen to the social and cultural context in which we live?
III. SPEAKING OUT
All are invited to speak with courage and parrhesia, that is, integrating freedom, truth, and charity. How do we promote a free and authentic style of communication within the community and its organizations, without duplicity and opportunism? And in relation to the society of which we are a
part? When and how do we manage to say what is important to us? How does the relationship with the media system (not only Catholic media) work? Who speaks on behalf of the Christian community, and how are they chosen?
IV. CO-RESPONSIBLE IN THE MISSION
Synodality is at the service of the Church’s mission, in which all her members are called to participate. Since we are all missionary disciples, how is each Baptized person called to be a protagonist in the mission? How does the community support its members committed to service in
society (social and political commitment, in scientific research and teaching, in the promotion of social justice, in the protection of human rights, and in caring for the Common home, etc.)? How doyou help them to live out these commitments in a logic of mission? How is discernment about
mission-related choices made, and who participates in it? How are the different traditions that constitute the patrimony of many Churches, especially the Oriental ones, integrated and adapted, with respect to the synodal style, in view of an effective Christian witness?
In this local consultation process, we encourage groups to meet, reflect, share and work together in responding to these themes. At the end of your conversations/consultation meetings, gather the insights together and write a synthesis, which should be submitted to the Chiang Mai Diocese Pre-Synod
Committee on or before the 25th of November 2021 at the Chiang Mai Catholic Mission Center or sent through this email address: [email protected] or Line account: CROCEVUTH
Your insights and experiences will certainly be a great contribution towards a more fruitful reflection on the life and mission of the Chiang Mai Diocese, which we are all a part of. We pray that the Holy Spirit may fill you with light and grace as you start your journey with all of us and the entire Church. We
sincerely thank you for your all your efforts and active collaboration.
May God bless you all!
Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana
Chiang Mai Diocese