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Church leaders must engage in deep conversations – Archbishop

Photo source: The Office of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago

Archbishop Charles Jason Gordon left Thursday for Rome, Italy to represent the Antilles Episcopal Conference of bishops at the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

Discussing the Church’s role in fostering dialogue during his September 15 interview on Altos, the Archbishop emphasised the importance of creating a dialogical Church where individuals listen to each other and engage in deep conversation.

“If we build synodality, listening in deep conversation in the spirit, we are first listening, what is the Holy Spirit saying to this person? Then I start listening to you differently. And then I start hearing you, and you start hearing me.”

Moreover, the Archbishop highlighted the ongoing work with priests, recognising that change within the Church starts with its leaders. Priests are being encouraged to engage in deep conversations within their ministry teams and pastoral councils, fostering a culture of listening, understanding, and inclusivity.

Archbishop Gordon also spoke about the recent appointment of Canada-born Jesuit priest Fr Peter McIsaac as the Director of Synodal Transformation, who will be responsible for guiding priests, vicars, parish councils, and ministry leaders in the process of building a more dialogical and inclusive Church.

He also spoke about the Church’s mission in marginalised communities which extends beyond the physical structures and programmes, saying it was about building a sense of belonging and providing resources that enable individuals to rise above their circumstances.

This approach aligns with the vision of a dialogical Church that Archbishop Gordon envisions—a Church that actively listens to the needs, hopes, and aspirations of its parishioners and the wider community.

He alluded to a broader effort aimed at redefining the role of the Church in urban areas. Traditional models of pastoral life are being reevaluated and refined to incorporate a developmental approach. This shift recognises that nurturing faith must go hand-in-hand with addressing the pressing social, educational, and economic challenges faced by urban populations.

A project nearing completion in Sea Lots will serve as a developmental centre, aiming to uplift the community. This initiative underscores the Church’s commitment to addressing socio-economic disparities and providing residents with opportunities for growth and empowerment