The Synod on Synodality is about journeying together as a Church. Pope Francis invited all Catholics — including those who feel marginalized or who have left the Church — and others to participate in the synod process and express what the Holy Spirit has shown them about carrying out the Church’s mission today.
In the Philippines, His Eminence Jose F. Advincula, D.D., the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Manila, has called on the people to take part in the synodal process regardless of social, political, economic, intellectual, and spiritual affiliation. “Your perspective, as well as your experience of God, can be part of the Synodal journey of the whole archdiocese,” Cardinal Advincula said in his homily at the opening of the diocesan phase of the Synod on Synodality held on October 17, 2021.
In solidarity with the Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Manila, San Beda University committed to responding to the call to engage in active listening to all members of the school community.
The University, through the Office of the Rector-President, Rev. Fr. Aloysius Ma. A. Maranan, OSB, in collaboration with selected offices, has undertaken in its own Synodal Journey, 3-Phase sequential activities namely: (1) Self-Reflection, (2) Circles of Discernment Meetings, and (3) Culminating Conference for this purpose.
Phase I: Self-Reflection
From July until August 2022, the first step of the SBU Synodal Journey was done individually by the members of the Bedan community. Everyone was enjoined using one’s “ear of the heart” to read and reflect on the essence and message of “For a Synodal Church” as contained in the information materials on the Synodal Church Preparatory Document Synod of Bishops (#4 – #21), Homily of Pope Francis, and the video clip on a Synodal Church. These materials were disseminated to the Bedan community via RedCanvas, MsTeams, Genyo, and Facebook.
Phase II: Circles of Discernment – Sharing and Listening Sessions
Starting middle of August until September 2022, the conduct of the circles of discernment sessions was done per group of 8-10 people from the various sectors of the Bedan community (e.g., students, faculty, administrators, support staff, and parents) via zoom. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in a prayerful encounter, listening, and discernment, each member of the Circle shared personal stories of faith and experiences based on these guide questions: (1) What is your understanding of Church?; (2) Do you feel being part of and involved in the Church? If yes, why? If no, what has hindered you from being involved in the Church?; and (3) What practical-doable suggestions do you have so that the Church can be more participative, inclusive, welcoming, and engaging?
A total of 60 Circles, covering 600 members of the SBU community from the Basic Education Department up to the Graduate School, participated. A facilitator and an experienced rapporteur were assigned to small groups.
Phase III: Culminating Conference
The culmination phase of the Synodality Project was the conduct of the SBU Synodality Journey Conference held last November 21, 2022. The community listened to the reflections of representatives from the various sectors in the SBU community on the three guide questions. Plenary speaker, Rev. Msgr. Gerry O. Santos, P.C., who enlightened the audience about the Synod of Bishops’ theme: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission”. The conference was framed within the unique experience of the Bedan community related to the annual Pista ng Santo Niño sa San Beda. This was profoundly explained to the attendees by Fr. John Paul II Plana, OSB. A synthesis of the SBU Synodality Journey was shared by Dr. Josefina M. Manabat, member of the Synodality Organizing Committee and Dean of the Graduate School of Liturgy.
SBU’S COMMITMENT TO CONTINUING THE SYNODAL JOURNEY
The University zealously intends to nurture faith and take a more active part in the mission of the Church- to act as individuals and as a Bedan family to organize the initial actions and therefore amplify the university’s share in the Church’s Synodal commitment and vision. Hopes were aptly expressed in the form of the following actions:
Rekindle innovatively active participation in our respective Parish communities and in San Beda University using God-given talents and resources for the Church.
Continue our circles of discernment meetings to listen to the Word of God and share reflections with the other sectors of the Bedan community. Conduct cross-sectoral or multisectoral meetings in small groups on a regular basis.
Conduct more dialogues in San Beda University by gathering the experiences of persons and peoples, including silences and sufferings, especially those sectors that were never listened to. This can be done by Integrating Synodality into our relevant courses from Basic Education to the Graduate level as well as in the Development Programs of Faculty and Non-Teaching Personnel.
Initiate more opportunities for the various sectors of the University to listen to the Word of God, to be helped to understand it, and apply it in daily life, and to pray with it.
Disseminate more information about the activities of the Church through the publication of printed and online materials which are appealing to the youth.
Source: 1682400085_TBT_JAN_2023_Issue.pdf (sanbeda.edu.ph) pages 28-31