Archdiocese of San Fernando Synod on Synodality Synthesis Report
Presented to the People of God of the Archdiocese of San Fernando at the Metropolitan Cathedral, the City of San Fernando, Pampanga during the culminating activity of the archdiocesan Pre-Synodal Phase of the Synod on Synodality on May 28, 2022.
Written by the Archdiocesan Synod Team:
Rev. Fr. Kenneth D. Alde, Rev. Fr. Justin G. Gatus, Rev. Fr. Carlowie L. Kabigting, Sis. Belina Singian-Katigbak, Bro. Nigel Ian Y. Laxamana, Rev. Fr. Jesus Jr. B. Layug, STL, Bro. Ariel C. Mallari, Rev. Fr. Maverick Angelo M. Pelayo, Rev. Fr. Ervin Justin C. Pineda, Rev. Fr. Gian P. Sagum, Rev. Fr. Jasper Laurence C. Sanita, and Dr. Arnel T. Sicat
The formal opening of the Diocesan Phase of the Synod On Synodality happened on October 17, 2021. His Excellency, the Most Rev. Florentino G. Lavarias, D.D., Archbishop of San Fernando celebrated the Holy Eucharist at the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando in conjunction with the universal opening of the three-year synod. Following the opening, an archdiocesan synod on synodality committee was formed to provide guidance, as was a technical team to develop methodologies for planning, implementing, and monitoring the consultation process. Parishes were asked to form parish synodal teams or stewards for the implementation.
On November 20, 2021, an archdiocesan orientation for all parish synodal teams was held. Parish launchings and announcements were encouraged to be planned by each parish. Identifying sectors to invite, scheduling, communicating, and carrying out preparatory activities such as providing participants with necessary materials were all part of the planning.
Members of the synod technical team contributed to the development of synod resources such as a facilitator’s handbook, videos, podcasts, and presentation materials that are used as reference materials by parish synodal teams across the archdiocese. They also prepared questions for Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) in three languages that were appropriate for the various sectors (English, Tagalog, and Kapampangan). Google Forms was also created for electronic consultations/surveys. The e-survey followed ethical guidelines, and a consent clause was included in the Google form. All e-survey instruments were put through their paces.
The Archdiocesan Commission on Social Communication (ACSC) created a synod microsite (www.rcasf.com/synod) on the archdiocesan website for information dissemination and resource downloads for FGDs or Listening Sessions after the materials were prepared.
The Listening sessions were conducted in both face-to-face and online Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), while the ACSC publicized the archdiocesan synod events through the archdiocesan media network.
The parish documenters transcribed local experiences. A Google form for writing synthesis per parish was created to facilitate a more organized approach to synthesizing local experiences. Six writing workshops for synod documentation teams were held, and a website link for report submission was established.
The development of collaborative communication methods was beneficial. These included the distribution of Circular Letters, video conferences, messenger chats, emails, text messaging, phone calls, Google sheets, Google forms, and Google slides; monitoring and evaluation, a Gantt Chart of Activities, and continuous progress reporting to the archdiocesan committee. In light of the ten themes on synodality, research methods were used in processing, interpreting, analyzing, and summarizing responses from electronic consultations.
What were the main questions posed?
As suggested by the Vademecum, the main questions asked were patterned after the ten (10) themed questions. These were trimmed to seven (7) main questions:
1. How do you experience your local parish? (Companions on the Journey)
2. What are the ways of listening and speaking in your local parish? (Listening and Speaking Out)
3. What do you experience whenever you attend a liturgical celebration? (Celebration)
4. How does your local parish motivate and empower you to collaborate and participate in sharing the Good News? (Sharing Responsibility for our Common Mission)
5. How do you communicate and foster a good relationship with other religions? (Dialogue in Church and Society, and Ecumenism)
6. How does your local parish make decisions? (Discerning and Deciding, and Forming Ourselves in Synodality)
7. What particular concerns in the church need to be addressed?
Electronic consultations consist of 23 items which are within the ten themes on synodality.
What was done to engage as many participants as possible and to reach out to the peripheries?
Various ways were done to engage as many participants as possible and to reach out to the peripheries. These are:
a) mobilized Parish and Chapel Pastoral Councils and mandated organizations, BECs, local government units, educational institutions, hospitals, and other institutions in inviting participants,
b) optimized technological resources for electronic consultation to the busiest sectors,
c) conducted home visits and interviews,
d) made use of the archdiocesan media network so that more people would have the opportunity to be listened to by the Archbishop, and
e) integration of the theme of Synodality into church activities like retreats and recollection.
Approximately what proportion of people in the diocese participated in one way or another?
Approximately, 4% of the 2.5 million Catholics (Philippines Statistics Authority 2020 census) in the archdiocese participated in one way or another. Based on the submitted reports of the parishes, face-to-face FGDs engaged more than 14,000 participants, while online FGDs gathered 297 participants. Electronic consultation for the professionals, youth, children, and non-Catholic sectors generated responses from 832 participants. The five FB live shows recorded more than 78,000 views.
Were there any groups of people whose participation was especially noteworthy?
The participation of the members of the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) or Bukluran, the LGBTQIA+, Persons with Disability, outcasts like the hospitality girls of a “red light” district, “live-in” partner, farmers, youth, children, the poor and marginalized sectors, and the archdiocesan educational system school members and university are noteworthy.
Were there specific groups of people who did not participate for any reason?
Other Catholic members who were invited but did not participate are those who were busy with their work and did not find time to attend the scheduled session.
BODY OF THE SYNTHESIS
What was most significant about the whole experience of the consultation?
The most significant reality and call that is evident in the entire consultation experience is A CHURCH THAT MIRRORS THE LISTENING HEART OF JESUS! Engaging the baptized and their companions on the journey who listened to the Holy Spirit and each other and spoke out made a significant difference in realizing who we are as a church. The current synodal process is guided by the fundamental question, “How does this ‘journeying together’ take place today on different levels, allowing the Church to proclaim the Gospel?” And what steps does the Spirit want us to take to grow as a synodal Church?” (PD, 2), we realized who we are, what is most important to us, and what will help us “live communion as one Body of Christ, achieve greater participation, and open ourselves to the mission.” (PD p.1)
First and foremost, WHO ARE WE?
Our listening sessions made us realize who our companions are. As Kapampangan people, we realized that we are a local church, faithful in culture and tradition, with a wealth of volunteers serving in different ministries.
We are a church with so many human resources, but with limited structural absorptive capacity. Some of our youth and professionals clamor to find their place in the church where they can fully maximize their personal charisms.
We are a church that primarily defines service to God as serving through the mass alone, missing a greater sense of communion and participation, where we should also serve all brothers and sisters— everyone and not only a few.
We are a church that needs to be more open, embrace all, involve more, and make each feel a sense of belongingness in the mission.
We are still an “un-Catholic Catholic” church that only accepts a select few. There are members who go unnoticed.
The vast majority of Catholics have been ignored. As a result, our gospel proclamation has yet to reach the majority.
We are a church that is willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and our members.
Second, WHAT IS IMPORTANT?
The Listening Sessions opened our eyes to see what we need to value the most – that WE ARE PERSONS! We saw glistening eyes during the sharing of experiences that mirror the most important aspects of personhood, namely: a) Relationship, b) Sense of Belongingness, c) Acceptance, and d) Involvement.
The question about “Journeying Companions” elicited a wide range of responses, emphasizing the importance of relationships. Remarks like, “Kami pu bang civilian ay walang karapatan umupo sa harap ng simbahan? (Don’t we civilians have a right to sit in the front seats?)” brought to light that some do not see themselves as church members or journey companions, but rather as mere “civilians.”
The “Listening and Speaking Out” questions elicited positive emotions such as a sense of belonging and acceptance. “Are you familiar with me/us?” (“Do I really belong here?”) The excitement on the sharers’ faces revealed their joy at having felt a sense of belonging.
At the same time, the minority voice expressed disappointment at being ignored or even rejected. The generated responses to the questions about “Shared Responsibility for the Mission, Decision-Making, and Discerning” demonstrate the inadequacy of being a synodal church in these areas, as well as the need to involve more people in the mission.
Third, WHAT WILL ASSIST US IN BECOMING A SYNODAL CHURCH?
COMMUNION – The call for a follow-up consultation expresses members’ desire to grow in synodality. The process appears to be the best way yet to foster communion by reaching out and hearing from the parish’s marginalized members, even if only in a representative capacity.
The participants, inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit, wish to continue sharing their God-centered or religious experiences in the context of real-life challenges, struggles, joys, and sorrows that emerge in an atmosphere of honest sharing and respectful listening. When people’s hearts were opened for listening, sharing, and responding to their needs as true expressions of a Church that journeys together on a common pilgrim way, the listening process highlighted the vivid expression of “ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda” (the church reformed, always reforming).
Praying the Adsumus Sancte Spiritus and meditating on the synod gospels prepared us to hear the Holy Spirit clearly and to share the fruits of our Scripture meditation before we even listened to one another. As a result, each listening session can be described as “an authentic experience of discerning the voice of the Holy Spirit, made possible by the Holy Spirit.” “times for deep reflection and a spirit of mutual trust, common faith, and a shared purpose” (Vad. p.8).
The pastoral inspiration of the archbishop, the commitment of both the synodal teams and the participants, the support of parish priests and church leaders, gestures of acceptance, and a welcoming atmosphere all contributed to the development of a life of communion.
PARTICIPATION – We have heard stories of flourishing hopes, particularly from single parents, the poor, and marginalized groups. We heard conversion stories, particularly from outcasts such as LGBTQIA+, of a person living together with a partner without the grace of the sacrament of Matrimony, and of faith-strayed members returning to the sheepfold. More people were invited to share their life experiences and paint visions of what kind of parish we should be, allowing for greater participation. The participation of both children and youth was impressive. As our participation and involvement have increased, there are many lessons to be learned from one another.
MISSION – Church members who participate in the mission experience joy and fulfillment in serving the church. Despite the fact that much has been done to proclaim the Good News of God’s Kingdom, the Church has been quite remiss in its presence, both in the peripheries and in “witnessing through life examples” of some of its leaders and members. Our evangelization focus is primarily parish-based. Unfortunately, some of the “proclaimers of the Good News” have not exemplified a life that serves as good news, particularly to the poor and the oppressed.
What were the high points and low points, or the consolations and desolations?
Affirmation of who we are and what is most important is regarded as high points on the journey. Camaraderie, friendship, trust, leadership, teamwork, sharing, sacrifice, new learning, and a sense of gratitude and fulfillment on the part of both participants and synod teams who facilitated the process are among them. Some noteworthy highlights include our realization that we are all God’s children and that His presence and love for everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status, is liberating, and the inclusion of various sectors in this synodal process allowed us to “weave new and deeper relationships.” It felt good, for example, to be in communion with someone who had lost and regained his faith, to listen to an ex-convict, to hear a PWD’s dreams, to make hope flourish for the poor and needy, to feel the pain of people who have been discriminated against, and to hear our usual companions on the journey among all the other participants. Another highlight of the consultation was listening to groups that were previously unheard of, such as farmers, market vendors, tricycle drivers, PWDs, and Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL). Furthermore, the listening sessions enabled us to bring out the best in the youth participants, as their creative minds created artworks in a variety of expressions.
“Nobody is so poor that he has nothing to give, and nobody is so rich that he has nothing to receive,” said St. Pope John Paul II. The stories of the poor vendors we visited and listened to, as well as their generosity, broadened our understanding of what it means to do a mission. They fleshed out our sense of being good news to one another.
Our church has a lot of mission resources. Among our church’s wealth are the many volunteers, church leaders, servers, our bishop, and priests.
More than 85 percent, or 80 of the archdiocese’s 94 parishes, had submitted their synodal reports.
These are some of the low points, according to feedback: a) limited time allotted to each listening session, b) limited time to conduct the sessions, c) limitations on the part of the sharers, d) a few instances of lack of freedom to share when the parish priest was present during the session, e) incorrect expectations by other invited participants when they thought “ayuda” (material assistance) would be given, e) difficulties in inviting participants, f) technical challenges during the sessions, g) abandonment felt by some synod teams, h) impact of the pandemic on mental health, i) wavering faith of some participants, and j) optics of other parishes that initially viewed this synodal process as “another task” that came in the way of the most pressing other parish priorities.
The fulfillment of the mission, in the minds of many parish leaders, is to have brought people to church (parish-centered). Though this is regarded as a concrete measure of evangelization success, it diminishes the importance of bringing the church to the peripheries instead.
What dispositions, attitudes, or feelings were notable?
The synod teams’ pervasive joy and positive attitudes are regarded as particularly noteworthy. Low points became high points, and desolations became consolations. Those who went out of their way to participate in listening sessions, despite the numerous tasks that they had to complete, had indeed invested significant time to listen, do self-sacrifice, and show love. In the end, they felt the most fulfilled and grateful because the experience brought out the best in them. Many of them worked with diocesan contact persons and attended training and workshops, even if they were held in the evenings or on apparently rest days. The participants’ openness, honesty, sense of belonging, and acceptance of one another are noteworthy.
During the electronic consultation with children, it was discovered that some children vividly remembered how their parents taught them about worshiping God through fundamental Catholic prayers such as the Lord’s Prayer and others. Listening to and saying these basic prayers has left a lasting impression on some children.
As a result, parents are the primary companions of children on their spiritual journey. Although not all children experienced this in their homes with their parents, children can master these basic prayers as they mature with the formation they received from educational institutions through catechism. Notably, teachers in educational institutions are also the children’s traveling companions.
Most Catholics have a positive attitude and positive feelings about their faith and look forward to returning to the church, but there is a growing interest in online mass attendance. The indigenous people, on the other hand, find the language barrier impeding their meaningful experience of God.
Were there any tensions or disagreements that emerged during the listening process?
During the listening sessions, the majority of parishes reported no significant tensions or disagreements. Tensions arose in some sessions when participants were of different denominations, or when discussion brought to light some broken relationships and hurts caused by other church leaders to participants, the non-welcoming attitude of church members, or church financial transparency not being displayed by other parishes that do not report financial status.
What topics or issues gave rise to diverse points of view?
Many topics incited diverse responses from participants, but the following are the most common:
- a comparison of the Catholic Church’s beliefs and practices with those of other denominations, particularly those of other Christian religions;
- the overlapping duties and responsibilities of Church leaders, including their leadership and organizational skills and competence, particularly in decision-making and formation;
- opinions on whether the parish is welcoming, inclusive, and attentive to the needs and concerns of the youth, minority, and marginalized;
- if the poor have a voice in decision-making and formation;
- whether the church is doing enough in terms of mission;
whether the church should do more socialization among parishioners rather than focusing on church improvements; and
- the Church’s involvement in socio-political concerns elicited a variety of responses.
Overall, what were the fruits that the Holy Spirit has brought about through this experience?
The synod listening process bestowed the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit on all participants and facilitators, which are: charity or love, joy, peace, patience, benignity or kindness, goodness, longanimity or long-suffering, mildness or gentleness, faith, modesty, continency or self-control, and chastity. Knowing that the Holy Spirit works in all of us was an incredible experience.
On Communion, there was an experience of UNITY IN THE MIDST OF DIVERSITY as it was discovered that even non-Catholics can be partners in our work of evangelization and service, particularly to the least, lost, and last in the community. There were also times when patience was tested, and the participants did their best to put up with the flaws of their traveling companions.
On Participation – DYNAMISM was demonstrated as a more dynamic parish life, which includes everyone, was enkindled. There was “inspiring trust” in a Synodal Church that seemed to place more trust in the Church’s role as a refuge, mother, and family.
On Mission – The hearers demonstrated acts of love by responding to the urgent needs of their traveling companions. KINDNESS and GOODNESS predominated as the participants realized from this experience that goodness exists within each individual. These manifested themselves in the aftermath of the sessions as acts of compassion were performed by those listening to the sharing of those in need. When the parish became aware of its responsibility to address the needs of its members, it harnessed SENSITIVITY and GENEROSITY.
As one listened to each other’s stories in the spirit of HONESTY and HUMILITY, despite the participants’ feelings of anxiety, stress about finances, work, relationships, and sickness over the past few days, they felt PEACE upon the realization that they are not alone and that our God is always in control.
What new perspectives or new horizons opened up?
The person’s human dignity is most important. The sessions opened a new perspective that more attention must be paid to the parish’s least, lost, and last in terms of dole-outs and economic assistance, but especially in terms of personal empowerment, constant appreciation, and preferential treatment for them. Listening to people with disabilities (Down syndrome, blindness), as well as the story of the discriminated against, opened a new perspective on the qualification of a church server, revealing that those we see as unqualified share the same dignity as everyone else. Even those we consider to be weak have deep desires to contribute to the mission of evangelization in their own unique way.
According to one story, church leadership and the initiative to cross borders to reach these people where have actually bridged the gap when they were given opportunities to serve. The church’s gesture eventually resulted in conversion.
Which particular stories or real-life experiences were especially moving and why?
The moving stories or real-life experiences vividly depict the fulfillment of the synodal consultations’ purpose: “to plant dreams, to draw forth prophecies and visions, to allow hope to flourish, to inspire trust, to bind up wounds, to awaken a dawn of hope, to learn from one another, and to create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, and give strength to our hands.” (FRANCIS, Opening Address to the Synod of Bishops on Young People) (3 October 2018).
Lyka, not her real name, works as a quail-egg vendor. She barely has time to go to Mass, and if she does, it is only once a month. She doesn’t miss out on her prayers by simply conversing with God as she patiently removes the shells of several quail eggs in preparation for cooking. When the tide is not in her favor, she begs the Lord to bring people to buy her product.
On the other hand, Marie, who has no formal education, earns a commission by selling “balut” eggs or unhatched chicks. Marie is the sole breadwinner in the family. She is open from 4:00 p.m. until midnight. She would be lucky to earn around 300 pesos (less than $6 USD), which she divides among her ten children, including the one who is currently in jail. Her house is always submerged in water.
Because of her situation, Marie rarely attends church. Nonetheless, as she sits on her makeshift stall near the plaza, she looks at the nearby church and lifts her heart to God, pleading for assistance.
The stories of these poor vendors have a lot to say about day-to-day survival and why we shouldn’t judge non-churchgoers. Listening to them is a paradigm-altering experience.
Lyka and Marie were filled with hope after the archbishop paid them a visit one afternoon. They felt indescribable joy and looked forward to the day when the archbishop himself would listen to them on the archdiocesan radio station. A very touching scene occurred two weeks after the archbishop’s home visit to Lyka and Marie. When Lyka and Marie stopped by the radio station for a listening session, they demonstrated generosity at its finest. That day, as if we saw and heard Jesus while watching the widow drop a coin into the temple treasury, he said, “This woman gave the most because she gave everything she had!” Lyka and Marie gave their all that day! They not only passed up their opportunity to earn money that day, but they also brought their products to share with everyone on the radio station.
Which points of view seem to have strong resonance?
1. The sense of belonging, “Kasama pala kami!” (Oh, we do belong! ), is a remark heard from those who are less well-known.
2. In terms of one’s personal relationship with God, holding on to one’s faith has been a common and pervasive sharing point among those who have felt God’s love, presence, and providence at the height of their struggles, fears, and anxieties.
3. In terms of the pastor’s role, some participants see the priest’s lifestyle, preaching, and closeness to the people he shepherds, regardless of socioeconomic status, as critical elements in igniting their faith and charity toward journeying together.
They want the pastor to be the leader but not the focal point of this synodal endeavor.
4. There is also a call for a new generation of church leaders.
5. During the Holy Eucharist celebration, every mass goer who participates expressed God’s love and the joy of receiving Holy Communion.
6. There was a lot of concern expressed about the formation ministry, which needs to be revamped and re-energized because it must exude joy in learning and foster a sense of being enlightened, and the people must be joyfully formed in the liturgy, Scripture, and Social Teachings of the Church.
Which points of view were mentioned less but are interesting and noteworthy?
1. The indigenous people’s voice was less heard, but their perspective on the church is interesting. They consider the church to be an ally, and they hope that the church will assist them in reclaiming their ancestral domain;
2. The feedback on how we worship, that there needs to be a greater emphasis on discipline and proper decorum in the sacraments and sacramentals in order to preserve and emphasize the sanctity of the liturgy and the church in general;
3. on the Parish Ministry of Service, that it must be recognized as the Ministry of Social Action, which serves as the parish’s social arm, extending assistance to the least, lost, and least both economically and spiritually;
4. communication barriers caused by fear of rejection; a lack of ways to inform parishioners; and natives’ use of language that does not promote a deeper understanding of the Mass; and 5. LGBTQAI+ issues such as same-sex marriage and gender-based comfort rooms.
Overall, what has the Holy Spirit inspired the community to see regarding the current reality of synodality in the local church, including the present lights and shadows?
The Holy Spirit has inspired our community to recognize that, while we have had expressions of being synodal during our previous archdiocesan pastoral planning by consulting several sectors, we are not yet fully synodal.
On Communion – The current shadows in our communion living have caused us to see the need to enrich the presence of the Good News in the peripheries and margins, and to pay attention to those who are less heard by being sensitive to those who need someone to talk to, for them to feel understood, accepted, and valued, and to accommodate more in the church. We saw the need for our promotion of small ecclesial communities, or Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), as well as the need to engage and reach out to non-churchgoers.
On Participation – The lights in our current reality of synodality in terms of participation propel us to create more programs, such as organizing street masses, in order to achieve greater participation. By conducting consultation, the Holy Spirit made us realize the importance of parish participation in decision-making and fostering transparency and accountability in parishes. We also saw a need for greater collaboration between Catholics and non-Catholics in order to increase participation in joint social action or outreach for the needy, particularly in the barangay. We also heard cries for Sunday schooling for children in order to encourage more active participation by the young.
On Mission – The reality of the mission’s shadows caused us to see the need to grow in the evangelizing work (sharing the Good News) of our pastoral leaders, beginning with parish priests, pastoral councils, and other church servers, who require true witnessing and zealous performance of their organizational roles and functions. We saw a need to empower more church leaders and servers, particularly youth, to actively spread the mission. More volunteer catechists are needed, particularly in public schools where the majority of students are enrolled and involved in campus ministries.
What did participants have to say about areas where the Church is in need of healing and conversion, in its spiritual life, culture, attitudes, structures, pastoral practices, relationships, and missionary outreach?
Participants voiced their need to heal relationships such as:
1. between the poor and the elite;
2. the need for conversion of minds regarding the misconception on the separation of church and the state that hurt both politics and religion;
3. divisiveness among Catholics, and between them and non-Catholics;
4. the church must address attitudes of discrimination, especially among those who are needing mercy and repentance;
5. need to heal the ignorance on the matter of formation and knowledge about the Bible, on the perspective of dole-out charity, proper decorum in church, acceptance of fraternal correction;
6. healing of structures toward the upkeep and maintenance of physical and soft structures by re-orientation of the Parish Pastoral Council and the organizational issues;
7. conversion of pastoral practices from the dichotomy of faith and moral life or witnessing, upholding “unity of command” from the Vatican to the bishops to parish priests, and healing issues of pastoral shepherding or servant-leadership concerns; and
8. there is also a need for conversion of missionary outreach toward a paradigm shift on the poor as beneficiaries, rather we need the poor to bless us, and thus we are the beneficiaries of their blessedness.
In what ways is the Holy Spirit inviting the local church to grow in Synodality?
- In order for our local church to grow in synodality, the Holy Spirit invites us to initiate activities that foster communion. We are invited to continue being a listening church, conduct follow-up consultations, and act on the wishes of the people.
- We must be serious about going to the periphery to reach out to the most vulnerable in order to achieve greater participation.
- We are invited to increase our human resources and empower the baptized to be open to the evangelization mission.
What dreams, desires, and aspirations for the church were expressed by participants?
- We want to be an inclusive church full of love and unity, with members living in harmonious relationships and no one left behind. (Relationship)
- Because we listen to God and one another and communicate effectively, we are both evangelized and evangelizing members. (Participation and communication)
- We hope that the parish can create a caring community in which the BEC program can be implemented efficiently and effectively. (Affection and Acceptance)
- We hope to see more concern, love, respect, and transparency in the community of the faithful who are given shared responsibility for the mission and actively participate in it. (Participation)
- We hope for an efficient and effective management system in our parish, with consultation and transparency on pastoral plans, parish programs, priest assignments, parish construction, and renovation.
Hopefully, the continuity of programs that have been shown to have meaningful outcomes will be maintained for better living by serving the needs of those who have less in life, particularly the poor, needy, incapacitated, young, and elderly.
Based on their feedback, what steps does the diocese feel called to take in becoming more synodal?
- Build an inclusive church where there is love and unity, where members live in harmonious relationships, and where no one is left behind;
- Enhance programs that highlight the formation of “evangelized and evangelizing” members who listen to God and one another;
- Improve communication, for example, by putting up “synodal” suggestion boxes to hear feedback and suggestions;
- Foster the development of a caring community in which the BEC program would be implemented efficiently and effectively; and
- Establish sustainable programs for the youth such as regular formation programs in the field not only of theology and liturgy but even science, humanities, arts and music, training and commissioning leaders who can live out preferential options for the poor, and continuing focused and extensive listening sessions, especially to nominal Catholics.
RESULTS OF THE E-CONSULTATION
CULTURAL IMAGE OF SYNODALITY
The Cruzada de Penitencia y Caridad, or Crusade of Penance and Charity, is one of our local church’s best examples of synodality.
Bishop Cesar Ma. Guerrero observed in the early days of the Diocese that, while the province is rich in resources, it is also a breeding ground for socialism and communism. Mutual understanding and relationships between social classes were lacking. According to the good bishop, there was much piety but little charity.
To address this unrest, Bishop Guerrero established the Crusade of Charity and Goodwill, which later evolved into the Crusade of Penance and Charity or the Cruzada de Penitencia y Caridad. The image of the Virgen de los Remedios, our main patroness, and the Sto. Cristo del Perdon can be found in all parishes and chapels throughout the province. One of its primary goals is to live out the Christian faith through charitable acts, also known locally as Lámak.
Lámak translates to “gift.” And through the Cruzada, various types of gifts are seen; gifts that live out the Holy Spirit’s gifts in various ways.
In the truest sense, the true LAMAK is CHRIST, – STO. CRISTO DEL PERDON, in her visits, calls her sons and daughters to live the Christian faith through forgiveness, conversion, and acts of charity. The material “lamak” represents generosity. Healing is ultimately brought about by conversion. That is why our Virgen is known as “Indu ning Kapaldanan” (Mother of Healing).
Today, the Cruzada continues to call Kapampangans to witness Christ through one another, no matter where we are or what stage of life we are in.
“Pisambang Mákiramdam: Isang Simbahang nakikinig at nakiki-ramdam sa bawat isa.”