Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
When Pope Francis announced in 2021 the start of a multi-year global consultation, he put the Synod’s goal in simple terms: the “Synod on synodality,” as it has become known, was a call to “look others in the eye and listen to what they have to say.”
The formal theme of the Synod of Bishops for its Fall 2023 meeting in Rome is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.” Bishops from around the world will gather to discuss how the Church can be more open to hearing the voices of the people of God, who have prayed and discerned the signs of the times under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Father has identified a growing need for listening to one another, a practice that is unfortunately becoming less common today. Anyone who watches world events unfold recognizes that individuals, communities, and nations are increasingly separated from one another. These divisions manifest themselves in many different ways, from our political positions to our personal relationships.
The Archdiocese of Vancouver synodal process engaged over 5,000 participants from 67 parishes in our local Church. It offered us an opportunity to explore how we are living the Church’s mission of evangelization: our successes and our challenges. In the Archdiocese of Vancouver, we are working to identify those areas where we have neglected Jesus’ call to bring the Good News to others and see him in all our brothers and sisters.
In the past year, we have reflected on, and accepted responsibility for, those times we failed in our relationships with the Indigenous Peoples of British Columbia. We have acknowledged our past sins, sought forgiveness, and are striving with renewed vigour to build new and healthy relationships founded on truth and trust.