Pope Francis has called for a synod on the synod nature of the Church. The word synod means journeying together. God journeys with us as we journey with one another. Another word for this is accompaniment. Accompaniment is one of the values in our archdiocesan pastoral plan.
Accompaniment is how we can spiritually support others, especially those who are struggling. It requires that we are genuinely present with them, listening to them and supporting them with the goal of helping them hear God’s call for them. God calls us to love all people and accept everyone in a way that invites them into a deeper relationship with Christ. By sharing Christ’s love, we can help others understand his teaching and become disciples themselves.
Journeying together calls us to listen to one another and to the Lord. Pope Francis states that the synod process “was conceived as an exercise in mutual listening… conducted at all levels of the Church.” This listening is not about garnering opinions or taking a survey. It is a matter of listening to the Holy Spirit as we listen to the experiences of one another, our hopes and dreams as well as that inner restlessness which “impels us to consider what it is best to do, what needs to be preserved or changed.”
Who are your journeying companions? Whom do you spiritual support and who spiritually supports you? In the parish, who journeys with you? Who is asking us to journey together, including those who may be outside the perimeter? What persons or groups are left on the margins?
As the parish prepares of this “exercise in mutual listening,” identify for yourself those individuals that walk with you the journey of faith. Are they family members? Friends? Parishioners? Those you serve? How might you listen more intently to them?