People of the Our Lady of Fatima region gather at St. Thomas More Parish in Paducah on Jan. 15, 2022, to participate in a regional Encuentro. COURTESY OF DCN. CHRIS GUTIÉRREZ
Dreaming of a synodal Church
BY DCN. CHRIS GUTIÉRREZ, SPECIAL TO THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
“What are you discussing as you walk along?” Luke 24: 17
It sounds simple and we’ve heard this line so many times. But this is probably one of the most important questions for all of us to continue pondering and to feel challenged to delve into as Christians. And as we continue our parish and regional synod listening sessions, I believe the core challenge remains: are we truly listening to each other? Or have we fallen into the temptation to use the process to simply talk over each other, show off our teaching skills or dump our grievances?
On the road to Emmaus, Jesus is very interested in what the disciples have to say; he wants to hear their perspective; he gives them time to express themselves; he listens to their fears and to how they feel. Jesus does not appear to them and immediately start to preach or lecture, to chastise or complain. He begins with listening.
Recently, Fr. Julio Cesar Palarino, an Uruguayan priest that serves in Argentina but visits our diocese every January, challenged many of us Hispanics to think through these challenges and questions. The truth of the matter is that the Hispanic community, just like everyone else, is not immune to the risks and temptations mentioned above. So every Saturday during the month of January, Fr. Julio offered introductory sessions about the synod process. In simple language he helped define terms such as synod and synodality, he shared a little bit about the history of synods and councils and finally encouraged communities to participate actively in their parish listening sessions.
Let us all continue trying to imitate what Jesus did on the road to Emmaus. Listen.
Deacon Chris Gutiérrez is the director of the Office of Hispanic/Latino Ministry in the Diocese of Owensboro. Learn more at https://owensborodiocese.org/ministerio-hispano/.
Originally printed in the March 2022 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.