District IV-Southwest Cebu’s First Step towards Synodality

Parish representatives of District IV-Southwest Cebu  participated in the Synodal Consultation in preparation for the Synod on Synodality 2021-2023 last January 29, 2022 at the St. Joseph Parish in Sangi, Madridejos, Alegria, Cebu

Last October 10, 2021, Pope Francis formally launched the opening of the two-year consultation on the forthcoming Synod on Synodality to be held in Rome in October 2023. 

Acting upon the Vatican instruction that the first phase of the consultation takes place in the diocesan level, the Archbishop of Cebu, His Excellency Most Rev. Jose S. Palma decreed the official start of the Diocesan Process on October 17, 2021 with the celebration of the Holy Mass at any preferred time in the parish levels. 

The Archdiocesan Synodal team, Rev. Fr. Arnel, Rev. Fr. Abel Bancog, and Sr. Maria Corazon Talay conducted the facilitator’s workshop for Synod on Synodality to 70 parish representatives in District 4. 

The workshop started with a Holy Hour presided by Rev. Fr. Marvin Mejia, the former secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) followed by the talks on Synodality. Then, a spiritual conversation was conducted, a method of group sharing that resonates the principles of synodality. Lastly, each group of parish representatives constructed a synthesis out of the group sharing. 

The workshop aimed to provide a deeper understanding on the meaning and the importance of Synod on Synodality to the Church and the people.  Furthermore, the Parish representatives were expected to share and implement what they learned from the workshop: the proper and effective processes of gathering people, conducting discussion and discourse, and synthesizing thoughts, plans, and sentiments from the different groups and sectors of the Parish. 

One of the participants, Victoria Legaspina, Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) Secretary of Saint Francis Xavier Parish in Alegria, Cebu, expressed that the workshop serves as an additional experience for their parish to grow and is something that they will surely share with their fellow parishioners. 

According to her, “… kahibalo ko nga mahimo ni namo nga dugang nga experience sa amoang parokya nga amo usab kining mapaambit sa uban nga parokyano.” 

(I know that this will serve as an additional experience for our parish and that we will also share this with our fellow parishioners).

In the hope that by creating groups of facilitators or formation teams in each parish, the voices from the grassroots levels (chapel, zone, sitio) will be heard and considered during the discussion of the church. 

As one Church, armed with the understanding of synodality, the faithful could create a ripple effect that will then strengthen the Faith, Values, and Beliefs of Filipinos and the Christians in particular. It is to say, thus, that each in this endeavor is called to actively participate and journey with others in the ministry, elements which are constitutive of the true essence of synodality, of “journeying together.”

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