Mercy Mondays: Chaplain’s Corner – What is the Synod on Synodality?
The Synod on Synodality is a two-year process of listening and dialogue for the Catholic Church beginning with a solemn opening in Rome on October 9 and 10, 2021 with each individual diocese and church celebrating the following week on October 17. The synodal process will conclude in 2023.
The Synodal Process at Salve Regina began in Feb. 2022 with an in-person viewing of Pope Francis and his encounter with university students at a global online meeting. Rev. Scott J. Pontes, the chaplain at Salve Regina, followed up with Salve Regina students in his theology class to discuss the important topics for university students in the church today.
Salve Regina is a mercy institution and is proud of its rich religious history and mercy tradition. Students and faculty at Salve Regina both recognize the need to acknowledge the five critical concerns of Mercy as an extremely important part of this process. The earth was recognized as one of the most important concerns to the students.
After prayerfully looking at Laudato Si, the University students felt this concern leads all of us to examine our own behaviors and policies. They found common ground here for the church to implement and to adopt more environmentally sustainable practices that can be shared in our region of the United States.
Students were very interested in learning more about the critical concern of nonviolence. They expressed concern with the lack of peaceful resolutions to conflict and would like to see the church actively work to prevent domestic violence and abuse of women and children, stop human trafficking and reduce violence in our communities. Following this concern, students also spoke out about racism, women and immigration.
The faculty and staff spoke about the lack of participation in the sacramental life of the University. Some common reasons for the lack of participation were lack of previous catechesis, lack of family participation at home, lack of understanding of the tenets of Catholicism and many students identify as spiritual rather than religious.
In looking forward students expressed a desire to learn more about getting involved in different movements that address their concerns in the church. As chaplain, Fr. Scott agrees with the faculty and staff that we as a Catholic university need to be more engaging in the celebration of the sacraments to draw students into the chapel.
Some resources to help students, faculty and staff get involved and learn more about the Catholic Church’s response to some of these issues can be found here.
- Synod on Synodality
- Sisters of Mercy
- Laudato Si Movement
- Nonviolence Institute
- RTS-098 Nonviolence Training
Offered by Fr. Scott Pontes, chaplain at the Mercy Center for Spiritual Life
This post is part of an ongoing series called Mercy Mondays that highlights Salve Regina’s dedication to its Mercy Mission. Search the tag Mercy Mission for more updates on the Mercy branches of Salve Regina.