I am a retired Catholic priest who currently attends St. Rita’s in Castlegar. I converted to the Catholic faith 50 years ago and was ordained a priest 35 years ago.
I’m pretty excited about what’s going on in my church right now. The Catholic Church‘s most ambitious event is officially underway. Our Pope has extended an invitation for you and me and everyone to give him your opinion on the Catholic Church. Francis calls all Catholics; Catholics in Recovery and Catholics of Long Ago; Catholics who have been abused, hurt, neglected, marginalized and excluded; and even Catholics who show up week after week and happily take a pew and participate fully in our parish community. This appeal is particularly directed to First Nations, women, people with disabilities, refugees, migrants, older people, people living in poverty, children and young people, people from all walks of life, including people of other Christian denominations and those of other religious traditions. .
In 2023 there will be a synod (gathering) in Rome with bishops from around the world, meeting in the Vatican to explore our Catholic Church. Unique to this gathering will be the contribution of lay people, ordinary people, anyone who wants to share their stories and ideas. What must the Catholic Church change and what must it preserve?
The vision is to engage every diocese, every episcopal conference and every continental church body. It will trigger the largest popular consultation in history. All are invited to imagine a different future for the Church. All of God’s people are being offered an opportunity to share our stories, our inspirations, our collective wisdom.
The parish of Ste Rita is embarking on this process this weekend and we invite you to be associated with it in another way. Until the end of February, we ask everyone to share what the Holy Spirit is asking of the Church at this time. Consider emailing [email protected] with your thoughts and insights and these will be included with any other comments we receive by February 28th. These will be summarized for our bishops to bring to Rome when the Synod takes place in 2023.