March 2, 2023
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. John’s,
The Greek word “Synodos” is translated “walking together.” It takes humility to walk together with others. By walking together, you learn from the other and you come to understand them. It builds trust which then gives you the opportunity to share the love of Christ with them. While it is challenging to be aligned due to our own desires and gifts, there is strength in teamwork and cooperation. We are ultimately invited to walk together with the Lord.
Section II of the Post Synodal Pastoral Letter begins with some scriptural thoughts from Archbishop Hebda. Reflecting on his many pastoral visits, he notes that the harvest is truly abundant, but the laborers are few. Thus, he calls us to participate in the work of the harvest. We do not do it alone, but rather with the Lord and each other. It is a team effort. The Lord has given each of us gifts and talents to build up His kingdom in each of our parishes. We all have circles of influence in which we can share the love of Christ in our interactions.
The Archbishop gives pastors the responsibility to form a team of twelve to share in the responsibility of implementing the goals of the synod at the parish. I have asked twenty people, twelve parishioners, and eight staff members to assist me in this effort here at SJB. We have begun the School of Discipleship and learned from Jeff Cavins in this class. We have reflected on the need for Christ in the world and the grace that God shares with us individually to meet that need. After the class, we will participate in a forty-day challenge as well as have a planning day on April 22 to organize our efforts for evangelization here at SJB.
In addition to the team at the parish level, Archbishop Hebda is establishing support for it at the diocesan level. He has created the Office for Synod Evangelization as well as Vicars for Evangelization. Having a structure to support the parish efforts will be crucial to the effective implementation of the Synod priorities.
Archbishop Hebda concludes this section by introducing the image of the Upper Room, where the foot washing, Last Supper and Pentecost took place. In upcoming sections, he will break open this image as a means to call us forth to be Christ’s witnesses.
As the Father loves me, so I also love you,
Father Paul Shovelain