The Power of Listening to Build Community

Becky McIntyre,

Becky McIntyre,

As we complete this first listening and consultation phase of this synod process, we want to take a moment to say – Thank You!

Thank you for taking a chance on the power of listening. The transformative, healing, generative power of listening. The power of listening to build connection and community.

When Pope Francis celebrated the opening Mass to initiate our Church’s two-year synod on synodality last October, he said that Jesus “shows us that God is not found in neat and orderly places, distant from reality, but walks ever at our side. He meets us where we are, on the often rocky roads of life.”

Thank you to our 75+ synod animators who answered the call to create local synodal listening encounters as part of our work through Discerning Deacons. From February through May you organized, facilitated, took notes, and participated in synod consultations at parishes, schools, universities, retreat centers and virtually, reaching more than 2800 people collectively. We thank you for making special efforts to reach out to those who often find themselves on the peripheries of Catholic Church institutional structures – high school and college students, women, immigrants, the elderly, LGBTQ Catholics, people in the deaf community, veterans, our Christian brothers and sisters, Latine/Black/Asian Catholics and more. We also want to thank the nearly 200 people who participated in our Discerning Deacons national consultations in May.

Together we engaged in the power of listening to one another’s joys and obstacles in journeying together with the Church and to discern the ways the Holy Spirit may be prompting us to improve the ways we are able to journey together into the third millennium.

This image is included in the synod report prepared by the Synodality in Philly Higher Education team. It was created by Becky McIntyre, a visual artist living in Northwest Philadelphia. Her work is inspired by nature, community, and the cultures of the various places to which she has traveled. She seeks to bring awareness to sociopolitical issues of justice and the transformative and healing nature of art, to activate and inspire new ways of being, and to find spaces to create and build community through the creative process.  A graduate of St. Joseph’s University and a former Los Angeles Catholic Worker, Becky is currently working as an Intensive Prevention Services counselor for youth as well as staff and a muralist for Walls for Justice.  

We have heard from many of you that gathering in synodal, listening, reflective, prayerful consultations has already created new hope, healing, and experiences of connection and community.

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“I have worked alongside many lay and religious women in my ministry who have exhibited outstanding ability for ministry.  Many have taught me by their example how to be a more effective minister, and by their instruction, helped me to grow in this role…It’s time that the Church gets in step with society and recognizes the equality of women in the workplace.  Women are as capable as men in the work of ministry, and have demonstrated the same equality in scholarship, skills and education as men.”
Fr. Joseph A. Genito, O.S.A
Pastor, St. Thomas of Villanova Parish, Philadelphia, PA
“If there were women deacons in my parish, lay women would relate in a deep and meaningful way to deacons who look, act, speak and feel more like themselves…Though I am an unlikely choice to wear the alb and stole, I have a deep commitment to service in Christ’s name and I try to live it every day. Any need that arises, I am ready to shoulder it, though some needs of our sisters and brothers would be well- or better-served by a woman’s different compassion.”
Deacon Bill Zapcic
Parish Deacon and Homilist, Retired Journalist, Tinton Falls, NJ
“Not only is ordaining women as deacons a restoration of the dynamism of the early Church, it is a matter of justice!”
Fr. Stephen P Newton, CSC
Executive Director, Association of US Catholic Priests, Notre Dame, IN

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