Participants from Left to right: Cardinal Robert McElroy, San Diego, Mr. Wyatt Olivas, Cheyenne, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Archbishop of Military Ordinariate, Cardinal Blase Cupich, Chicago, Sr. Leticia Salazar, San Bernardino, myself, Bishop Robert Barron, Winon-Rochester, Bishop Daniel Flores, Brownsville, Dr. Cynthia Bailey-Manns, St. Paul-Minneapolis, Ms. Julia Osaka, Philadelphia, Rev. Ivan Montelongo, El Paso

The North American Continent Delegation has begun our preparations for this October’s Synod on Synodality. All of us came together Monday for the purposes of meeting one another. Most of the US Delegation gathered at Mundelein Seminary outside of Chicago, and all delegates from Canada the other US delegates were present via an online video link. 

The full list of participants for the Synod may be found here.

We broke off into pairs to listen to each one tell their personal story, particularly from the perspective of a personal faith-journey. We reconvened and each of us introduced the other one to the broader group. It was a practice in deep listening and sharing what we heard.

The rest of our time together we celebrated Mass, prayed Morning and Evening Prayer together, and enjoyed some fraternity over meals and social time. The other meeting times we read together the Istrumentum Laboris (working document) for the synod, and began to prayerfully reflect and share with one another our initial thoughts and hopes for the synod. 

Each of us took time to put together our own personal plan to prepare for the synod. For me, that means a renewed and intensified practice of daily prayer. As the Synod document says, the main protagonist of the Synod is the Holy Spirit, meaning that while we are listening to one another, it is through this that we primarily listen to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church today. (Revelation 2:7) Additionally, I will take regular time for reading Sacred Scripture, the preparatory documents along with other key magisterial and council documents. Finally, I am taking seriously the request of others to pray for me as that spiritual support is absolutely necessary that I may be an active, prayerful and discerning member of the Synod delegation.

It is important to remember that the goal of the Synod is not to produce a document. Rather, as the working document says: “It’s aim will be to continue to animate the synodal process in the ordinary life of the Church, identifying which pathways the Spirit invites us to walk along more decisively as one People of God.” (#3) Our hope is by means of this Synod; our listening, prayer and discernment to hear the Holy Spirit will “invite us to proceed with confidence and resolution in a task of crucial importance for the effectiveness of the proclamation of the Gospel, which is the goal to which a missionary synodal Church aspires.” (#60)

Please God, may it be so!