Synod, What Is It?

The synodal process has involved dioceses around the world in a phase of listening. Local churches like ours held “listening sessions” guided by facilitators. These sessions “will integrate the Synodal Process into the life of the local Church in creative ways that promote and deepen communion, fuller participation, and a more fruitful mission.”

Our facilitators lead us in a conversation centered around two questions asked by Pope Francis and we will listen. Our responses were be noted and after all of our sessions are completed our parish sent our collective responses to our local Archdiocese, who will then send it on nationally and finally onto to Rome. Our Synod Process began with the following invitation by Father Tim Clark: 
Our Lady of the Lake Parish took the Synod Listening process seriously and invited current and former parishioners to participate in group sessions both in-person and remotely as well as individual in-person and remote meetings. At Our Lady of the Lake over 200 individuals in 21 group sessions contributed their responses to the key questions: 
“How is this “journeying together” happening today in your local Church?” and “What steps does the Holy Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “journeying together”?” 
In the Seattle Archdiocese, there were over 1,000 sessions that included 11,000 people and 93% of parishes participated. At Our Lady of the Lake, the groups included, current parishioners, the Bible Study group, parents of young people enrolled in public, private and Catholic schools, young adults, Our Lady of the Lake School 7th and 8th grade students, home-bound parishioners, members of the Executive Board and individuals who have stepped away from the Catholic Church. Each session began with an opening prayer that we also prayed at Mass each Sunday during the Spring. A reading from Luke about the Apostles walking to Emmaus after Jesus’ Crucifixion helped us focus on the journey of faith we are all taking. All participants respectfully listened to each other and set an atmosphere of openness and trust. Individuals opened their hearts and spoke with deep conviction of the steps needed to grow in our journeying together. On May 6th a summary report of the main themes from the Listening Sessions was sent to the Seattle Archdiocese. Our full report was over 20 pages long. In July, the Archdiocese released their synthesized report of parish synod sessions. We were pleasantly surprised that their report mirrored much of what surfaced at OLL. As a local parish we plan to continue the Synod process by doing a parish wide survey based on what we learned and how we can create opportunities for growth within our local parish. 
Please find below OLL's Synod Summary submitted to the Archdiocese in May of 2022; OLL's Synod Report presented at Mass June of 2022 as well as the Synthesized Synod's Reports from our local Archdiocese, Regionally and Nationally