Sixty-seven attendees gather at Cathedral to discuss Synod
By The Byzantine Catholic Office of Religious Education
All four eparchies — the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, Eparchy of Passaic, Eparchy of Parma and the Eparchy of Phoenix — participated in the National Synthesis of the People of God in the USA for a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation & Mission.
Sixty seven attendees came together April 29 at the Cathedral Center of St. John the Baptist in Munhall, Pa. to share hopes and concerns expressed in the parochial surveys and listening sessions conducted throughout the Metropolia.
Metropolitan Archbishop William C. Skurla welcomed the participants and opened the day’s event with a Prayer for Peace in Ukraine.
In his opening remarks he emphasized the importance of the three objectives of the Synod: Community, Participation and Mission. He ended his remarks by reminding us to allow God to speak to our hearts and connect the Gospel to our lives.
The first presentation was given by Father Ron Barusefski, a priest of the Eparchy of Passaic and Director of Human Formation at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary. He has a licentiate in canon law from Catholic University in Washington and a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.
His talk was entitled “Discipleship in Our Church: Past, Present & Future.” Father Ron traced the history of our Church and emphasized the importance of evangelization. The journey from being an ancestral Church to an immigrant Church in the United States was a difficult one. With God’s help and a lot of hard work we are now a Metroplitan Church sui iuris.
Following Father Ron’s presentation, four representatives from each eparchy shared the results of their parish surveys and listening sessions that were conducted in the past several months. The presenters were: Amanda Singel, Archeparchy of Pittsburgh; Father Robert Jager, Eparchy of Parma; Father Robert Pipta, Eparchy of Phoenix; and Dr. Joan Grossman, Eparchy of Passaic.
The afternoon session consisted of small group discussions facilitated by the seminarians from SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary. Some of the major themes that emerged were the need for greater transparency, on-going adult faith formation, a more welcoming parish community, a better understanding of the role of parish councils, parish reorganization and more effective catechesis.
At the end of the day participants had a clearer understanding that Synodality is a process not a program. It is calling us back to the basics. We don’t yet have solutions to the problems, but we have the capacity to openly and freely formulate our questions.
The April 29 Eparchial Assembly laid a foundation for the upcoming Metropolitan Assembly, LIVING OUR FAITH, Moving Forward, Appreciating Our Past to be held in Hillsborough, N.J. on November 2 to 5, 2023. For more information consult your eparchial websites and publications.