Six students enrolled in THEO 4330, “Theology of the Church,” have been immersed in the Synod on Synodality process this semester. These students, under the direction of their professor, Dr. Kate Ward, have learned about the process first envisioned and blessed by Pope Francis that began in 2021 and is continuing through 2024.
The Synod on Synodality is Pope Francis’ initiative for the Catholic Church to collaboratively chart its path in the modern era, emphasizing listening, discernment and mission.
Absorbing documents generated by the process so far and conducting their own listening sessions both on campus and in the surrounding community, a final report synthesized by the students will be forwarded to local bishops, archbishops and, ultimately, to the Vatican’s General Secretariat for inclusion in the final report.
A targeted grant from the Department of Mission and Ministry’s Simmons Fund supported the outreach and hospitality for the student-led listening sessions. The listening sessions were targeted to everyone, including active/inactive Catholics, people of other faiths and people of no faith. This unique approach offers insight into the Catholic church that may never have been heard before.
It is deeply significant that the Church is taking this process seriously so that fragmentation, marginalization and other wounds within the Church can continue to be addressed with compassion and love which can lead to greater joy and consolation among the faithful.
The final report from these students will be released toward the end of the fall semester.