From September 2012 to October 2013, the diocese of Tournai (Belgium) lived its Synod: a time of research into how to apply and re-appropriate the great orientations of the Second Vatican Council.
The community of the DJs of Tournai, sensitive to the driving presence of Jesus Christ in the Church and at its frontiers, felt challenged by the proposition and launched into the process of reflexion and implementation.
Anne Thirion, who works in Pastoral care, shares with us the richness of this experience by highlighting three points:
The richness of community prayer moved by the force of the Holy Spirit.
The opening and the closing of the synod, as well as our assemblies, were significant moments of communion where we felt the presence of He who guided our discernment and directed our choices. A spiritual oneness emerged during the polished and tuneful liturgies. It is rare to find oneself in a gathering of more than 400 people celebrating the Lord with such vigour.
The richness of meeting and sharing.
The group work opened our minds and hearts to other realities and conceptions
of life in the Church. Our different pastoral areas and personal experiences mean we each have a different view of the past, present and future of the diocese. We had to welcome each
expression with respect and tolerance and decide on propositions in common.
The richness of discovering unexplored terrain
Each member of the synod assembly had been sent by his peers or elected by his pastoral group, not to defend his territory or the domain in which he is active, but to dare to have a confrontation between the “specialists” in catechesis, liturgy, health care, teaching… It was from this confrontation that the synod decrees arose.
« And now…. What do we do ? »
The adventure begins in the pastoral groups, in the different sectors attentive to the announcement of the Word of God, to celebration, to the service of the most disadvantaged and to all those in search of meaning. Practical orientations are mentioned in the decrees (See the diocesan web-site).
These aim at:
- Uniting parishes while keeping in mind proximity,
- A new way of animating and decision making at all levels of the diocesan structure,
- The development of techniques of communication,
- Attention to the young and to families
Putting all that into action means re-examining the role of those engaged in pastoral care. Ordained ministers, consecrated, animators and all the baptised are invited to re-appropriate the primary sense of their vocation and to enter into a process of conversion and ongoing formation, counting on sharing and solidarity, so that “all should have life, life in abundance3. Jn 10,10