New Year’s blessings on each of you as we embark on another calendar year filled with hope and promise for our Church, our Congregation, our Province and our Local Communities.
In October 2021, our Church began the unprecedented and ambitious process of inviting all Catholics around the world to participate in gatherings and conversations focused on preparing our Church leaders for the 2023 Synod of Bishops. We, as Religious Brothers, have been invited through the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) to submit a report to them that they in turn will submit to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL).
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, describes Synodality as a path or journey that the entire people of God take together. This path is characterized by active listening to the Holy Spirit by all of the People of God. It is ultimately a dialogue between the faithful, our Bishops and the Pope. Synodality is not new to us as Christian Brothers. In fact, preparations for our upcoming reconvened Congregation Chapter are very much a Synodal process that have sought input via generative listening from all of our Brothers across the globe. Similarly, the cluster gatherings that took place leading up to our Province Chapter in July 2022 are also an example of listening together for the voice of the Holy Spirit among our Brothers, as was the pre-Chapter gathering of our Brothers in Latin America leading up to our Latin American assembly in July 2022. Thus, as a Congregation, Province and Mission Area, we have vast Synodal experience that can be shared with the wider Church.
Along with this letter, you will find three other documents that the Province Leadership Team has prepared to assist our Brothers in the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers North America Province and the Latin America Mission Area.
1. Wake Up the World – Adsumus, Sancte Spiritus – the Synod Prayer.
2. Synodal Questions posed by CMSM for Community discussion.
3. Edmund Rice Christian Brothers North America Province Leadership Team – Facilitated response to the Synodal questions.
These documents are presented to you with the hope that you will have generative conversations with one another that can help you to better understand the Synodal process and to be active participants in it. As such, we encourage you to participate in your local diocesan or parish initiatives around the Synod. Our voices as Christian Brothers will only be heard if we join in with others in actively listening together for the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Brothers, as we begin this New Year with hope and promise, let us pray for one another and for all God’s people who seek to be united with Jesus of Nazareth, our Brother and our hope.
Kevin (on behalf of the PLT)
Adsumus, Sancte Spiritus
Prayer of invocation to the Holy Spirit for an ecclesial assembly of governance or discernment
We stand before You, Holy Spirit,
as we gather together in Your name.
With You alone to guide us,
make Yourself at home in our hearts;
Teach us the way we must go
and how we are to pursue it.
We are weak and sinful;
do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path
nor partiality influence our actions.
Let us find in You our unity
so that we may journey together to eternal life
and not stray from the way of truth
and what is right.
All this we ask of You, who are at work in every place and time,
in the communion of the Father and the Son,
forever and ever. Amen.