How to participate¶
Short answer: Everybody who wants to help the Church on her synodal journey of seeking what is good and true. The mere fact of participating in a consultation meeting shows your good will. If you feel angry with the Church, you are actually especially welcome.
In order to participate in the Synod, we ask you to attend a consultation meeting organized by your parish and to discuss with the other participants about the fundamental question.
During a consultation meeting you will receive a printed questionnaire. This questionnaire is available for download in three languages:
You can also submit your individual answer directly to the core team as a formless email (see Contact).
A natural reaction when asked for input to the Synod is to say your opinion about certain controversial questions (extraordinary Mass, communion with other confessions, marriage, divorce, abortion, etc.). Discussions about such topics are valuable examples for discovering what synodality means. But keep in mind that the Synod is not about these topics. The Synod is about synodality, i.e. about how the a Church manages to embrace all baptized, in their controversial diversities, on our journey of seeking what is good and true.
To get a true synodal experience, we encourage you to organize your own consultation meetings as described in the following sections. A synodal process starts when you meet with other people and express your common opinion in a group report. The meetings themselves are part of the learning process and should bring true experiences of synodality to the participants.
The consultation meetings can have different forms: The parish priests will invite the faithful of their parish to meetings. The different church groups or congregations can organize their own consultation meetings. Public consultation meetings can also be organized by independent groups, by other Christian denominations, or by groups that are not explicitly Christian. You can hold a consultation meeting in your family. Even a spontaneous meeting with some friends can be a valid consultation meeting.
The meetings can of course also happen as video conferences.
It is not required that a priest participates in the meeting. Everybody can organize a consultation meeting. We recommend that you inform the core team or a local priest about your plan to run a meeting.
One person should lead the meeting. Every meeting leader will have their own style of animating a meeting.
A typical consultation meeting might have the following elements.
Introduction. The participants should understand why they came together. Use About the Synod for explaining the project. Each participant should have a questionnaire on paper or screen.
Prayer. The participants pray together using the text in Prayer (also on the questionnaire sheet). This prayer, and your “amen” (which means “I agree”) unites you with all other consultation meetings in the world.
Explain that the meeting needs a reporter. Decide who will write the meeting report.
Optionally listen to a text from the Scriptures or to an invited guest who speaks about a particular topic.
Optionally provide a time of silence for personal introspection: What memories arise in me? How do I answer to the fundamental question?
Exchange. Share your story with the other participants. Take care that everybody gets a possibility to speak.
Decide. Which of your stories should go into your “report”, that is, what you want to say at the Synod?
Instead of writing a simple meeting report, it can happen that the participants decide to organize one or several follow-up meetings. See Start your own project below.
During the consultation phase of the Synod, Pope Francis asks us to reflect on the following question:
A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, ‘journeys together’. How is this ‘journeying together’ happening today in your local Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our ‘journeying together?’
In order to respond, you are invited to ask yourselves what experiences in your particular Church the fundamental question calls to mind.
What joys did these experiences provoke? What difficulties and obstacles have they encountered? What wounds have they brought to light? What insights have they elicited?
Where, in these experiences, does the voice of the Spirit resound? What is he asking of us? What are the steps to be taken? What paths are opening up for our particular Church?
To help you explore the fundamental question more fully, we invite you to read 10 themes for inspiration (which are also on the questionnaire).
In your report we recommend you to collect true stories about real experiences. Something like “This and this really happened to me, and I felt like this.”
Real stories about synodality, told by real people, will probably be the most valuable input Estonia has to give to the Synod.
Writing real stories needs more patience, courage and confidence than formulating your opinion or advice regarding some exciting topic. But we remind you that you are the only one who can write your story. And actually it is easier than you might think. And it will bring more joy and peace to your heart.
One of the participants of a consultation meeting must do the work of writing a report. Without a report, your meeting was –hopefully– very useful, but your voice won’t be heard at the Synod.
There is almost no formal requirement regarding the report. For a report to be valid, the core team must know the name of the reporter, the date and place where the meeting was held and the number of participants, and of course the answers you submit to the Synod.
Optionally you might take pictures of the meeting and submit them along with your report. But only after making sure that the participants agree that your pictures may potentially be published on our website and on other places as well.
Please send us your report via email. See contact page.
The deadline for sending your report is 31st March 2022.
Instead of submitting a report immediately after a meeting, participants can decide to start a project group in order to participate even more actively in the synodal process. The result of such a project can be an elaborated report, a manifesto, an open letter or a petition. We welcome and encourage this and invite you to continue your work as an independent team.
Also here, keep in mind that the Synod is not about certain hot topics, but about synodality, i.e. about how the Church manages to embrace all those baptized, in their controversial diversities.