Bishop of Sibu Rt Reverend Joseph Hii gave an introduction on Synod of Synodality during the Diocesan Coordinators for Synodal Process training, 6 Nov 2021 at Sacred Heart Cathedral Conference Room. (Photo: Sibu Soccom)


Dec 2 2021

SIBU — Sibu Diocese formed Synodal Process Facilitators Team after launching the Synodal Process at Sacred Heart Cathedral (SHC) on 21 Nov 2021.

The facilitator team, comprised of 70 brothers and sisters, had begun their mission work to consult the people of God until April 2022.

The members are from across various lay movements, groups, communities of SHC and Chinese, Iban and English language apostolates groups.

All facilitators are to serve with humility, always listen to people, and reach out to the marginalised, the poor, the sick, the widows, the lonely, the old aged, the young, and those who had left the Church.

All 70 facilitators had undergone training on 20 Nov at Sibu Diocesan Pastoral Centre. Diocesan Coordinator for the Synodal Process, Father Ivan Fang conducted the training.

Fr Fang is also a Mill Hill Missionary priest from Brunei and founder of the Missionary Community of Corpus Christi MCCC.

The training session covered seven topics: All About Synodality, The Role of the Facilitator, The Steps for Group Facilitation, Trouble Shooting During Facilitation, The Synodal Consultation Process, and Using the Facilitator Guidebook, and Recording and Making the Synthesis.

Meanwhile, on 10 October, Pope Francis officially launched the two-year synodal process themed ‘For Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission’.

This Synod of Synodality in the Universal church is ground-breaking as it would involve by far the broadest and widest consultation taking place in the church at the diocesan, national, regional and universal levels. 

This call by Pope Francis for Synodality in the Universal church takes tremendous courage, for he drastically changed the style of the Synod from Collegial (College of Bishops in communion with the Pope) to synodal (allowing the entire Children of God to participate).

In preparation of the Synod of Bishops 2023, Pope Francis is calling all the people of God, to walk together with him in Communion, Participation and Mission and together listen to the Holy Spirit.

The ultimate goal is to find ways for every baptised children of God to fulfill the church’s missionary activity of announcing God’s love and salvation in Jesus Christ to the world, which is the greatest and holiest task of the church.

The process of listening to the people, walking together with Pope Francis and listening to the Holy Spirit is called the Synodal process.

The term ‘synod’ means ‘to walk with’ or ‘journey together’ in Greek.

Thus, through the process, the church will listen to the response of the two fundamental questions.

They are ‘How is this “journeying together” happening today in your local church?’ and ‘What steps does the Spirit invites us to take in order to grow in our “journeying together?’

In response to this call, dioceses and parishes worldwide kicked off their ‘synodal process’ on 17 Oct.

Diocese of Sibu kickstarted its first meeting virtually on 25 Oct to prepare for the synodal process. Representatives of all parishes in the Diocese attended the meeting.

Fr Fang also presented and consulted with the parish coordinators the proposed road map of the Synodal Process for the Diocese of Sibu.

After the first meeting, the Church held the Synodal Process Coordinator Training on 6 Nov at SHC Conference Room. Forty-one parish coordinators from 12 parishes participated in the training.

Bishop of Sibu Right Reverend Joseph Hii echoed the call of Pope Francis, ‘There is no need for another church, but to create a different church’ to keep the Church in a ‘permanent state of mission’.

A different church, he said, has three marks ‘Synodal, Listening and Healing’.

“A Synodal Church that is structured to walk together, where all feel at home, where all participate and take ownership. 

“A Listening Church that stops and listens to the Spirit in Prayer listens to each other, their hopes, their crises of faith and their need for new pastoral life. 

“A Healing church where God is present always, present to all, with closeness, compassionate and caring. A church that binds wounds, heal broken hearts with God’s touch,” he said. 

All Catholics are invited to pray that the Holy Spirit would guide the local church in this synodal process. – Today’s Catholic