People participate in the March 22, 2022 regional synod listening session at St. Thomas More Parish in Paducah. This was one of seven regional sessions offered around the Diocese of Owensboro. RILEY GREIF | WKC
Sitting in the discomfort, heartache and pain: Synodal process seeks to listen to the peripheries
BY SUSANA SOLORZA, SPECIAL TO THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
Editor’s note: Pope Francis has issued a worldwide invitation to all the faithful to participate in the upcoming Synod of Bishops, commonly known as the Synod on Synodality. Its theme is “For a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.” Throughout March, our diocese hosted regional listening sessions for the faithful to share their thoughts on today’s Church. Below is a reflection from a member of the diocese’s synod listening committee.
Tension lives in that space between where we want to be and where we are.
During this synodal process, Pope Francis has called us to sit and explore this tension. He has asked us to reach out and connect with the people at the periphery of our Church; a space we occupy for many of them. As a committee, we have been asking, “How are the baptized walking amongst this tension of the world and how are we as a Church encountering them?”
I have found wisdom in how our diocesan leadership has been deliberate in our call to the Holy Spirit. Every listening session has begun with the call, “Come, Holy Spirit!”
Dr. Charlotte McCorquodale, president of Ministry Training Source, has worked alongside our committee to challenge us to make this time of sharing one that is led, not by our ego, but by the voice of God. She taught us to look at this as more than just a strategic planning session or a time to vent.
Our team went into these listening sessions knowing the hurdles would be many. As more and more sharing has occurred, I have seen hope rising above the pain, simply through this first step of listening. There is comfort in hearing that people of all generations are looking toward the Spirit to help us find solutions to the pain being voiced by people in and out of our peripheries.
I don’t want to downplay the pain and hurt that people are sharing. Our world has gone through many waves of collective grief and misunderstanding; polarization seems to be a universal norm. We see fractures throughout families and communities. People have shared heartaches they have been carrying for years. We have had to sit in the discomfort of those that are hurt and suffering. Even so, the Church has weathered many storms, and we remain the people who will be challenged to step out of the boat to follow Christ. We are all in the midst of this tension and fervor, searching for peace we only find in Jesus.
As I write this, I am coming home from a regional listening session and listening to PJ Morton’s “God Can/Let Go.” Every part of this song brings me to trust in the hope I have felt in this process. Take a listen and pray for us as we continue to work to reach out and answer the call of Pope Francis.
Susana Solorza is a member of the Committee on the Synod on Synodality, Diocese of Owensboro; a parishioner at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Henderson; and a teacher at Holy Name of Jesus School in Henderson.
Learn more about the synod process at https://owensborodiocese.org/synod/.
Originally printed in the April 2022 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.