“Are we good at listening? How good is the “hearing” of our heart? Do we allow people to express themselves, to walk in faith even though they have had difficulties in life, and to be part of the life of the community without being hindered, rejected or judged?”

Pope Francis 

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

“For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission” 
Synod 2021 – 2023

The objective of this Synod of Bishops is not thematic like the previous synods—on the Amazon, young people and the family, and the synods that came before. This synod hopes to introduce the people of God to a fundamentally different way of organizing and expressing ourselves as the Catholic Church in this third millennium. 

Pope Francis, quoting Yves Congar, O.P.,  a great theologian of the Second Vatican Council, has said that “there is no need to create another church, but to create a different church.” 

But to create a different church, the pope says we need to be open to doing things in new ways. We need to learn a fundamental skill of human interaction: the ability to listen to each other with courage and openness, without prejudice, discrimination or fear. The principal objective of the synod is to listen together to find the ways the Holy Spirit of God is at work in each person’s life and to discern commonalities in our experiences. 

We are called “to become experts in the art of encounter,” the pope said.  We are called to take “time to look others in the eye and listen to what they have to say, to build rapport, to be sensitive to the questions of our sisters and brothers, to let ourselves be enriched by the variety of charisms, vocations and ministries.”

To whom does our particular Church “need to listen to”?
How are the Laity, especially young people and women, listened to?

How do we integrate the contribution of Consecrated Men and Women?

What space is there for the voice of minorities, the discarded, and the excluded?

Do we identify prejudices and stereotypes that hinder our listening?

How do we listen to the social and cultural context in which we live?


Come, Holy Spirit! You inspire new tongues and place words of life on our lips: keep us from becoming a ‘museum church,’ beautiful but mute, with much past and little future.Come among us, so that in this synodal experience we will not lose our enthusiasm, dilute the power of prophecy, or descend into useless and unproductive discussions.


Pope Francis, 9 October 2021 in Rome

Fr Ricardo da Silva SJ

Fr Ricardo da Silva SJ was born in Coimbra, Portugal and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. He had a career in marketing, communications and brand management before joining the Jesuits in 2007 and has studied communications (SA), philosophy (UK), theology (Brazil) and journalism (USA). He is passionate about liturgical music, communications, and ethics and takes delight in good company and food. He has ministered to a wide range of people in many different contexts, from the elderly to high school and university students, refugees, migrants and the homeless. He has just completed the foundational Master of Science degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

r.dasilva@jesuitinstitute.org.za @ricdssj
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