BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The parish of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Talisay City, Negros Occidental wrapped up the groundwork and consultations that form part of the synodal preparatory process called for by Pope Francis at Vatican City in October 2021.
The culminating activity was a plenary with the lay faithful also called “taong simbahan” and understood by many as “layko.”
Fr. Nino Cesar R. Ruiz, OAR, Parish Priest of San Nicolas de Tolentino, led the lay faithful at the concluding plenary held at the parish premises.
“The face-to-face consultation dialogue with the various representations of the local church was a response to the call of Pope Francis to reach out to sectoral groups that need to be heard and listened to.” Fr. Ruiz explained.
He further mentioned to the plenary participants the relevance of the theme which is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.”
Three questions were uniformly discussed in all consultation-dialogue: What are your experiences in the Church? What is your dream for the Church? What is God’s dream (plan) for the Church? What can you possibly do so as the Church will realize this dream?
The shared personal experiences are treated with utmost confidentiality but it is noteworthy to mention the aspirations of the faithful drawn out of the dialogue, especially those emanating from the youth, a press statement from the San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish said.
The unity of all church and lay organizations, the recognition of the value of transmission of faith through the family, that as a church we may become more prayerful, to bring the whole family to physically volunteer for the Church, to enliven the lay ministries, strengthening of the Catechism of the Church and cultivate a “sense of camaraderie”, it added.
The parish identified key persons to form the local coordinating committees prior to the consultation dialogue which kicked off on Feb. 5.
While the Philippine Church has given the 69 dioceses in various ecclesiastical provinces up to August 2022, the Talisay San Nicolas Parish opted to wrap the exercises early to give ample time for the “Bacolod Diocesan listening phase” which will be followed by a continental phase come September 2022 till March 2023 and the culminating “universal Church phase” traditionally celebrated with the Synod of Bishops.
We are looking forward to the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican in October 2023, Fr. Ruiz, parish priest of San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish said.*