Signs that the Holy Spirit is at work

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I was grateful to receive from the Vatican last week the “Vademecum for the Synod on Synodality: Official Manual for Listening and Discernment in Local Churches”. I welcomed the document not only because it describes how our Archdiocese can participate in the preparations for the 2023 Synod of Bishops in Rome, which will focus on synodality, but also because it confirms the momentum of our local efforts over the past two years as we prepare for our Archdiocesan Synod.

The Vademecum recalls that “synodality is not so much an event or a slogan as a style and a way of being through which the Church lives her mission in the world. The mission of the Church requires that all the People of God walk together, each member playing their crucial role, united to one another. A synodal Church walks in communion to pursue a common mission through the participation of each of its members. “

Bishop Bernard Hebda

Our Archdiocesan Synod was for us a means of taking the first steps towards adopting the Synod “style” and “way of being” that Pope Francis so insightfully exposed for the Church. It energized me. The participation of so many in our prayer and listening events and the number of those who have come for the training sessions to help with the small group parish consultation process that will begin later this month gives me both great hope that the Holy Spirit is indeed at work in our Archdiocese.

Since we aim to allow the participation of all those who wish to get involved in the Synod, I hope you will be generous in volunteering your time for this extraordinary effort. I realize that a six week engagement is a “big ask”, but I’m sure the fruits will more than justify the investment of your time. Please check with your ward to find out how and when you can participate, and bring friends (especially if they are no longer actively involved in the ward).

I also hope that many of you will also be able to join us at Saint Paul’s Cathedral on October 17 at 5 p.m. for the Mass that Pope Francis has asked us to celebrate in communion with him and the dioceses of the whole world to mark liturgically. the beginning of the synodal consultation which he asked us to embrace. As he finds us halfway through our small group parish consultation, I imagine our celebration will be especially joyful and our prayers focused.

While some have expressed disappointment that we must embark on this effort at a very difficult time, given the resurgence of COVID in some of our communities, I nonetheless continue to receive spiritual confirmation that the Lord is truly blessing our Church in this. moment in a path that calls us to even more generosity. Let me share with you some of the encouraging signs I have witnessed in recent weeks.

I recently had the opportunity to celebrate the opening Mass for this year’s harvest of missionaries for NET ministries. I am amazed that more than 150 young people have stepped forward to give a year of their time in the service of the Church as full-time volunteers in the work of evangelism. Most of them will be leaving in teams to offer retreats to high school and junior high school students across our country. As our Archdiocesan Synod discusses missionary discipleship, evangelism, and youth and young adult ministries, we will be blessed to be able to benefit from the experience of NET Ministries, a lay-led ministry that has its origins here. in St. Paul.

Equally inspiring was my experience at the opening Mass at the University of St. Thomas, where students filled the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on campus. The prayer was fervent and the energy evident. I was amazed that many of these students returned a day later to join young adults from across the Archdiocese for Horn Jesus, the monthly evening of Eucharistic adoration and confessions organized at Saint Paul Seminary. If you ever need a spiritual boost, I encourage you to come. Horn Jesus, which takes place the first Friday evening of each month.

Our seminars continue to be a source of great hope. It was a great pleasure recently to install one of our priests, Father Jon Kelly, as the new rector of the Seminary of St. John Vianney College. The chapel packed that morning, with students from 16 dioceses, illustrated why SJV is currently engaged in a building project that will not only provide a larger chapel, but also another space to meet training needs. of college seminarians in 2021.

At Saint Paul Seminary, the overall number of seminarians has increased by nearly 25%, reflecting great confidence in the formation offered in our major seminary. The increase was noticeable when I recently celebrated the opening mass there. Sixteen of the new men are pioneers in the propaedeutic program requested by the Vatican to aid in discernment and prepare students to open up to the formation offered in a formal seminary program. Knowing how I relate to my cell phone and computer, I can’t wait to see how these pioneers are making “tech detox” which is a big part of their program.

The increase in the number of seminarians is only one indicator of the work of the Holy Spirit in our archdiocese. Enrollment of lay students in St. Paul’s Seminary School of Theology continues to be strong, accounting for about half of those studying for degrees from the institution. In addition, the Catechetical Institute of the seminary will welcome 450 adult students this year. I am delighted to reflect on the ministry these women and men will provide to our Church in the days to come.

The importance of well-trained lay people was especially evident in the recent evening prayer for racial justice at St. Peter Claver Parish on their patron saint’s feast. Bishop Cozzens and I were thrilled to participate, but it was really the phenomenal gospel choir and the ideas of the three lay speakers that won out. The testimonials were both stimulating and inspiring.

Please continue to pray for the success of our Synod, for the young people who serve as missionaries in our archdiocese and elsewhere, for the students of our local universities, for the seminarians of our two seminaries, for their many peers in formation for life. consecrated here in the Archdiocese, and for the many lay faithful who are preparing for ministry or who are already serving our parishes and schools.

Señales de que el Espíritu Santo está obbrando

Key words: Archdiocesan Synod, Synodality, Vademecum

Category: Only Jesus


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