The Raipur Deanery Synodal Church meeting was held at St. Joseph’s Cathedral Church, Byron Bazar, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, on 28th March, 2022, where more than 30 priests were present, including about 10 laity and 30 nuns. The meeting began with a beautiful prayer on the comparative qualities of WATER, with the objectives of the Synodal Church. Fr. Jose Philip, the Raipur Diocesan Dean, initiated the meeting by welcoming the participants. Reports from different Parishes of Raipur Deanery were presented. In the first phase of the Synodal meeting of the faithful in different Parishes, parish priests explained the Synodal message of the Pope and the concepts of “communion”, “participation” and “mission”. Themes were suggested on the Synodal Church for discussion at the Parish level, and questionnaires were distributed for feedback from the faithful, clergy and Religious. A summary of the reports of the discussion and feedback from different Parishes were read out.
The drafting committee including Fr. Joe Philip – Dean, Fr. Ajay Jojo, Fr. Ajay Bara and the Coordinators, did the herculean works in preparing the working paper. The participants, however, noted the poor response of the laity; in some Parishes there was no meeting at all; concocted reports were presented; the report was unreal; the clergy could not explain correctly to the laity the concept of the Synodal Church; people did not understand the concepts like ‘Synodal Church’, communion, participation and mission. That was why the audience felt that the report was not real.
Archbishop Victor Henry Thakur told the audience to listen to the Holy Spirit, listen to oneself and listen to others. We have to live our daily life for others. Institutions of the Church cannot be a Synodal Church if they are not living for others, the Archbishop asserted. He was disappointed with the poor response of the Religious of the CRI. He has great expectations from the laity, Religious and clergy in the forthcoming process, in achieving the purposes of a Synodal Church in the diocese.
Sebastian Poomattam, V.G., summing up the working paper and the interaction of the participants, asked the participants to walk and talk together (Acts.2:4), starting with the family. He reminded the audience that some Parishes did not discuss much, but cooked up the reports. The local and regional CRI did not contribute on the Synodal Church. Reaching out to all individuals in the Parishes, is the best consultative method in the process of a Synodal Church.
The author is currently the Director of Jeevan VikasMaitri (JVM), a Registered NGO, Pathalgaon, Dist. Jashpur, Chattisgarh.