CV NEWS FEED // Pope Francis said in a recent interview that the 2023 Synod on Synodality is intended to be a period of prayer and discernment among Church leaders and laity. To implement this, synod participants are using a method dubbed “conversation in the Spirit” as a new way of discussing and praying about Church issues.
As reported by CatholicVote, hundreds of bishops, religious, priests, and lay people will attend the synod, which begins this week, to “listen” and determine where the Holy Spirit is calling the Church and discuss “problems that affect humanity today.”
According to an infographic on the synod website, “conversation in the Spirit” is “a dynamic of discernment in the synodal Church” that will assist participants in hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit.
In order to facilitate conversation, the attendees are divided into small groups of 10-12, which will change over the weeks of the synod to encourage new perspectives. The participants are then asked about questions and issues arising from Instrumentum Laboris, the working document for the synod comprised of a compilation of diocesan reports. In response, each working group participates in the eight-step process of “conversation in the Spirit.”
The first step is personal preparation, where each participant converses in prayer with the Holy Spirit and “prepares his or her own contribution to the question about which he or she is called to discern.”
This step is followed by silence, continued personal prayer, and listening to the word of God. Afterward, the working groups begin to engage in dialogue with one another at their tables.
“Each person takes turns speaking from his or her own experience and prayer, and listens carefully to the contribution of others,” the infographic says.
After more silence and prayer, individuals engage in dialogue again, sharing “what has resonated most with him or her or what has aroused the most resistance in him or her, allowing himself or herself to be guided by the Holy Spirit.”
Participants are also told to ask themselves the question: “When, listening, did my heart burn within me?”
Finally, after another period for silent prayer, the groups reconvene to “build together” in dialogue once more.
“Together we dialogue on the basis of what emerged earlier in order to discern and gather the fruit of the conversation in the Spirit: to recognize intuitions and convergences; to identify discordances, obstacles and new questions; to allow prophetic voices to emerge,” the infographic says.
After “conversation in the Spirit,” all working groups share their reports with one another in a plenary session with “an open space for interventions by participants.” According to another infographic, each individual group then writes a report on the fruits of the open dialogue in the plenary session, along with proposals for further steps.