In its diocesan synthesis for the Synod on Synodality in 2023, the US Archdiocese of Newark has called for “significant formation” on the “priesthood of the laity” and in “lay leadership.”
The recommendations include:
Provide significant formation regarding “the priesthood of the laity” and how each person is called to be a disciple of Christ through baptism for members of the laity and Church leaders.
The report noted that “many parishioners are more focused on their local concerns rather than on global issues.”
“Pastors, parish staff members, and school and campus leaders can facilitate “lifelong learning” by gathering groups to read, study and reflect on the many resources available to know more about the faith and contemporary issues the Church is speaking of,” the synthesis continued.
Small Christian Communities
Giving examples, the synthesis noted that “parishioners can be invited to come together for Small Christian Communities, Bible study, books, journal studies, etc., on parish or deanery levels.”
It concluded that there was a need to “help parishioners who are unsure how to reach out to the margins: the poor, former Catholics, unchurched, younger generations, and others.e
“Training is needed in ways to gently reach out to others and invite them into the life of Christ,” the synthesis added, calling for “lay leadership training in parish leadership, ministries and groups, social justice and outreach.
Cardinal Joseph Tobin CSsR welcomed the report, saying:
The synod consultation process provided the Archdiocese with a new opportunity, not only for the prayer, dialogue and discernment called for by Pope Francis, but also a way to think concretely about how to address issues on the local level. A goal for the synod listening sessions was to reach as many people as possible throughout the Archdiocese. As the Archdiocesan planning team began to organize the diocesan consultations, they provided information sessions so that everyone could learn about the Synod and ways they could participate. It was hoped that parish pastoral councils, with some additional training, could facilitate the listening sessions in their respective parishes. This was very effective in gaining participation from a significant number of people. In places that did not have functioning pastoral councils, other leaders were called upon to facilitate the listening sessions.
Diocesan Synthesis Synod on Synodality (Archdiocese of Newark)