SYNOD 2021 Process of spiritual listening and sharing continues

MERRILLVILLE – Representatives from parishes, schools, religious communities, boards and commissions from across the Diocese of Gary gathered at Our Lady of Consolation on Dec. 4, to continue the process of spiritual listening and sharing as Bishop Robert J. McClory seeks input from priests and laity as part of the global SYNOD 2021 called for by Pope Francis earlier this year.

        Deacon Daniel Lowery, appointed to serve as diocesan liaison for the synod, led the group through a presentation revealing how data collected at previous meetings was progressively synthesized to arrive at two broad areas of focus for the Diocese of Gary.

        Deacon Lowery reviewed how the process began, with suggestions gathered through previous meetings and focus groups, and illustrated how ideas were compiled and transformed into a more concise strategy reflecting how the Diocese of Gary might best carry forward the fruits of the 2017 synod in the context of current times. 

        The group first spiritually reflected on each area, then discussed content and related questions with tablemates before sharing feedback with the entire group – a process introduced at earlier gatherings. 

        A similar meeting took place with the priests’ council earlier in the week.

        Bishop McClory commented that these kinds of extended spiritual conversations have the potential to profoundly change the culture of the diocese.

        Deacon Lowery will further compile the information shared through these listening sessions for the Bishop to prayerfully reflect upon as part of the synodal process. This process, instituted by Pope Francis, aims to structure the Catholic Church's internal mechanisms for discussion and reflection, and to help shape a new way for the Church to understand and articulate both her internal self-understanding and mission of evangelization.

        Bishop McClory invited members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council and other representatives active in the synod listening sessions to join him for Mass and a presentation on Feb. 6 at the Cathedral of the Holy Angels in Gary, when he will share his thoughts and vision for how the Diocese of Gary can best respond to the invitation of missionary discipleship.