A Bonus Year + Weaving Webs

spider webs on Casey's morning walk in Italy, near Florence.

spider webs on Casey's morning walk in Italy, near Florence.

Pope Francis announced on Sunday that what we thought would be the culmination and conclusion of a two year process – October 2023’s Synod Assembly in Rome – will in fact be a point of convergence along the way.

Next October’s Synod gathering will be the first of two such meetings, to help foster and grow a Church more capable of walking together as God’s people on earth.

I feel a little bit like I just earned an extra life in a video game. We get to keep on playing!

There’s more time for the saplings of a synodal church to take root. There’s more space for us to become a community more capable of sinking into deeper ground than what divides us, to be nourished by the roots of our faith tradition while the branches reach out in new, even surprising directions as we are stretched in mission.

“The fruits of the synodal process that has gone ahead are many, but in order for them to bear much fruit, we can’t hurry,” said Pope Francis, adding that the extension was an effort to help make synodality part of the “constitutive nature of the church.” (from NCR Coverage)

What a gift! Pope Francis knows: good things take time. It’s delicate work. This is a truth that Jennifer and Sophie, 3rd year Mdiv Students at Notre Dame, know quite well. They were longing to find a way to contribute as part of discerning deacons. After nearly a year of dreaming & conversing, they were able to invite Dr. Phyllis Zagano and Anna Nussbaum Keating to come to campus and help foster the dialogue. AND THEY PACKED THE ROOM! You can read their full report here – and check out this news coverage from the Irish Rover, the Campus Catholic newspaper.

On my morning walk today in the mountains of Italy, just south of Florence, I noticed hundreds of spider webs. Fragile. Dripping in dew. Intricate, messy, Tangled and symmetrical. While sometimes our work seems more like a buzzing bee hive, these webs remind me of the careful work: connecting and linking, transforming.

Stepping back, I can see beautiful patterns emerging – some more clearly than others – often marked by strength and fragility. We 

wait with hope and gratitude for the Synod office to put forth a discerning document for the next continental phase of the synod.

In the meantime – all praise to the great web – as the poet Denise Levertov wrote.

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Endorser
“It is time for our Church to acknowledge the role of countless women serving the people of God in positions of ministry and leadership.”
Endorser
“It is time for the Church to heed the Spirit’s voice, recognizing women’s call to the diaconate and allow the Spirit to restore and renew the Body of Christ so that it may fully live into its identity of missionary discipleship.”
M. Therese Lysaught, Ph.D., Theologian
Theologian, Doctor of Philosophy - Loyola University Chicago and the Pontifical Academy for Life (Chicago, IL/Madison, WI)
Witness
“I feel that the Catholic Church as it is structured is not what Jesus envisioned for his followers—so many of them were women of his day. What happened?”
Joan D. Martin
Ignatian Volunteer Corps Member, parishioner at New Roads Catholic Community in Belmont, MA

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