On October 10, 2021, Pope Francis formally opened a two-year process for the entire Catholic Church, a Synod on Synodality. We are all invited to walk or travel together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The question is, ‘How is this being driven in the Catholic Church?’.
I thirsted for more, which led me to the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church (OLPH), San Fernando. As I entered the church and walked towards the altar, my attention was drawn to the left, where a Statue of the Virgin Mary was present.
Her eyes were shining down on the Synod candle which was presented to Fr David Khan after the official blessing at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Saturday, November 27. This candle receives blessings from Mother Mary daily. Synod is in the right hands.
This triggered the desire to dig deeper. What was Mary blessing? As I was about to exit the church, I had the desire to turn around. My eyes focused on the cross, and the Holy Spirit led me to the Synod Prayer, which was printed on the OLPH parish bulletin.
In a blink of an eye, I was standing in St Andrew Kaggwa Church, Vistabella. The Allard sisters had produced a Parang dedicated to the Holy Spirit. Their words of praise and worship echoed with the culture of Trinidad and Tobago. The Church was alive, and the Holy Spirit was on fire.
As time moved forward, the bells of Christmas rang, and I was celebrating the Holy Mass at Christ the King, Les Efforts. As I picked up the weekly bulletin on December 25, Solemnity of The Lord’s Nativity, my eyes fell on three words, ‘The Holy Family’.
I read more, “What was the connection between Synodality and the Holy Family? If we love one another as Jesus loves us by forgiving those who do us wrong and praying, then we strengthen the relationship we have with God the Father, Jesus His Son and the Holy Spirit all Three in One.”
The New Year brought the Epiphany. I was excited to receive the message in that bulletin. How was the Epiphany connected to Synodality? All was found in the bulletin titled ‘Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and The World Day of Peace’, January 1, 2022: “May Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the universe, be the start of our year. May we be like the Magi, that although we come from different places, join in one journey, walking side by side in Synodality with the hope to meet Christ the King.”
Every New Year brings a new hope and a positive energy. I was so happy to feel the Spirit in the youths at OLPH. Apparently, their Synod Team had a youth coordinator who raised the voices of the young in a poem on Synodality in that week’s bulletin.
The Holy Spirit ignited and in two seconds I was singing along with Synod lyrics, holding the OLPH parish bulletin on the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 6. This Calypso was composed by their youth coordinator.
I wondered, how can we make this journeying or walk together in our parishes and communities better? What can each of us do, and do collectively, to make it better?
At OLPH parish, a synod questionnaire was carefully designed to collect important and relevant information from both Catholics and non-Catholics of all ages. Pretty clever.
What do we hope for? We hope that everyone who joins in the conversations will experience a personal transformation, emerging from it with a better appreciation of how we, as a Church, can journey together, and with the entire human family. In addition, we hope to weave new and deeper relations to learn from one another. Together, we could build bridges. We could fly with the eagles and reach our highest potential. The sky is the limit.
Synodality asks us to be energetic and positive. With every problem, we could try to find a solution. We are ambassadors of our faith through conscientious listening and sharing of insights to advance Jesus’ mission in the world. We are fishers of men, each with a purpose to make this world a better place. —Therese Chung, OLPH Parish Synod Coordinator
Poem on Synodality
Composed by Alicia Hankey
As the church calls us to Synodality,
Some may wonder what this really means.
We ought to be companions on a journey,
Because life as we know is not easy
Let’s walk together in unity,
Young, old, come on everybody,
With the Holy Spirit to guide us,
For in Jesus, we place our trust
Let us rebuild our church positively,
As it’s all about community,
Show respect, care, and love,
It’s what the Father gave us from above
Don’t be proud and resilient,
Instead, be humble and obedient,
Everyone here is valuable,
Just as our loving God is able.