SYNODL 22-1 June 27, 2022 Thanks for Diocesan Responses to the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of B […]
June 27, 2022
Thanks for Diocesan Responses to the
XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
To the bishops and the diocesan coordinators for the Synod:
Thank you to all 16 dioceses in Japan for submitting your opinions for the diocesan phase of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that began in October of last year.
Despite your busy schedules and the difficulty of holding gatherings during the pandemic, we received many opinions on the current state and the future of the Church. Each opinion was rich in insights and suggestions.
I especially want to express my sincere gratitude to the Synod coordinators in each diocese who have worked so hard to gather the opinions.
The Next Step
The Bishops’ Conference will compile the opinions received from you into a final document and along with opinions received from other Christian Churches they will be adopted at the General Assembly of Bishops in July as the opinions of the Church in Japan and sent to the Holy See’s Synod Secretariat.
In addition, the opinions from each diocese as well as opinions submitted by groups and individuals will be sent to the Synod Secretariat at the same time.
The Synod does not end here. The journey has only just begun. The theme of this Synod is “For a Synodal Church (a Church that Journeys Together): Communion, Participation and Mission.” The fellowship that is born in our Church and the community of faith that is nurtured through the participation of many people blesses us with the mission to share the message of the Lord Jesus Christ with all people. In this way, the Church will fulfill more faithfully its mission of proclaiming the Gospel entrusted to it by the Triune God.
This Synod aims to realize the essence of such a Church and put it into practice. The Church will be renewed through this worldwide gathering and through sharing the joys, difficulties, and challenges we all experience as God’s people.
Therefore, the effort to discover a Church that journeys together does not end with this gathering of opinions. It will continue.
Synodality, journeying together, is a hallmark of the Church demonstrated by the Second Vatican Council 60 years ago. As we build a Church that journeys together with many people, we will be able to realize the wonders of the Church and show the world its beauty. Therefore, let us continue our search in each parish community and each diocese for a synodal Church that journeys together. Our journey continues.
Seeking a Church that journeys together is not an attempt to reorganize the Church. A synodal Church is one in which clergy, religious, and laity respect each other’s place, listen to one another, and engage in dialogue. Simply criticizing the current system and organization will not create a Church that journeys together.
While listening to one another and supporting each other, we must spare no effort in becoming a Church that journeys together with vulnerable people, with those who suffer, those of foreign nationality, or social minorities.
Toward a Church That Journeys Together
For the past half century, we, the Catholic Church in Japan, have been aiming to be a Church that journeys together with many people in society. In that sense, the synodal Church has already begun in Japan.
However, more than 20 years have passed since the start of the new century and people’s lives have changed amid major changes in society. Then came the coronavirus pandemic. People in our society are becoming less connected and less likely to interact with others.
In such circumstances, if we clearly show that our Church values fellowship and is a Church that journeys together, it will give a great witness to society. We grow more Christlike as we journey together.
As we respond to the promptings and invitations of the Holy Spirit, let us become a Church that shows the love of God the Father.