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Sharing Your Faith- Synod Response

The following was written by the Archdiocese of Denver in response to the Synod Process that began in October, 2021.

Brothers and Sisters, 

We want to express our continued gratitude for your prayerful participation in this extraordinary process. After reviewing the small group submissions, event survey, and our own time in prayer, we have compiled a summary of cross-cutting themes from each of the major Archdiocesan Discernment Event topics; mission of the disciple, family, parish, and Archdiocese. We invite you to continue to pray with these themes and see how you can implement them in your own life, in your family, and in your parish.

Mission of The Parish

God is asking our parishes to become more welcoming. A welcoming like the Father of the prodigal son in the Gospel of Luke chapter 15. A home where people are expected and awaited, seen, known, and loved.

  • Be a place of belonging, a place where you can find your true identity. Accomplished through accompanying, more than a hospitality ministry.
  • Welcome through personal invitation: we each must welcome people home to the parish.
  • To welcome does not mean you compromise (avoid the two flawed sides: compromise love and compromise truth): We’re rooted in truth, in sound doctrine, in revelation. It must be an invitation to come and see.
  • We are comfortable welcoming those who look like us. We need eyes to see who we’re not welcoming.

Our parishes need to be actively working towards a supernatural unity and healing between Catholics of different language/cultural backgrounds, liturgical expressions, political affiliations, etc. Healing is an avenue to unity.

  • Like Jesus prays in the Gospel of John chapter 17 – so that they (his disciples) may be one, as we are one…so that the world would know that you sent me
  • Belonging to the parish also brings forth unity.
  • Create unity within the parish community among ministries to reflect a Christian body. One community, not separate communities and ministries under one roof.
  • The invitation is clear and has been ongoing, but have we responded to it?
  • We can’t pretend there have not been or are not wounds. We’ve inflicted wounds and we all need healing through reconciliation- reconciliation to Christ first (2 Corinthians 5:16-21).

Parishes should be a place where disciples are equipped to live their mission and vocation. (Ephesians 4)

  • The laity is being called to be the protagonist: the task of the laity is to sanctify the world. Evangelization cannot fall solely on the clergy and ordained of the parish.
  • The model of equipping isn’t simply a classroom or lecture-based model. Equipping disciples within a parish happens through apprenticeship and accompaniment.
  • Furthermore, that equipping disciples is not only giving them knowledge and skills but recognizing that God has already given them specific charisms that are essential to their mission. Accompaniment should be helping parishioners claim and exercise charisms they’ve already been given by the Holy Spirit.
  • There are a lot of things parishes can be doing. In this time where we are being called to mission, a guiding question for us should be ‘How is this helping me and others become missionary disciples?

The parish doesn't exist for its own sake but is sent out for sake of the broader community. We need to reach out with the Good News, with the treasure we have, and share it.

  • Outreach to those who’ve fallen away
  • Outreach to the poor
  • Outreach to the broader community
  • We need to get to know our territory, its reality, and our people, in and out of our pews.
  • We’re not called into mission alone. We have an individual responsibility to live the mission, but we are co-laborers in the vineyard of evangelization.
  • The parish is being called to be a place of synodality, by journeying with the people.
  • The parish is the place to share the fire of the Holy Spirit and be contagious with our Gospel joy. We’re called to go back to the basics- “Be humble, do less, be more.” As Jesus shares with Martha in Luke 10:41-42, “Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing”, and that is Christ Jesus and His Church. We are called to reflect on how much we’re doing and if it is what Jesus is asking us to do.

The Eucharist is the Soul of the Parish. “You will win the war before the Blessed Sacrament.”                                                   – Venerable Fulton Sheen