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Bishop Fisher

Bishop Fisher leads special Synod Mass

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Bishop Michael W. Fisher, with assistance from Deacon David Clabeaux and Father Sean Paul Fleming, celebrated a Mass that launched the Diocese of Buffalo into the worldwide Synod. (Photo by Joe Martone)

Bishop Michael W. Fisher presided at a special Mass on Sunday, Oct. 17 at St. Joseph Cathedral to formally launch in the Diocese of Buffalo the worldwide Synod convoked by Pope Francis the previous weekend.

The Synod is a two-year global reflective and consultation process involving all levels of the Church in considering the universal mission of evangelization and is a process of discerning how to best engage as an active constructive influence in addressing the issues that define modern culture and society.

The term Synod is defined as an assembly or meeting of church leaders. The word is derived from the Greek syn meaning together and hodos meaning way or journey. The concept of the Synod was first proposed during the second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

Our call to be a synodal Church, Bishop Fisher explained, asks us to journey together as clergy, religious and lay people with the long-term goal of a participatory approach in decision making processes through communion, participation and mission. 

In his homily during this special Mass, Bishop Fisher explained that the diocesan Road to Renewal effort and the Synod are complementary efforts.

“The roads are converging, this time of renewal and the Synod process and we look forward in hope,” he explained. “This effort will lead us to the Church we are called to be.”

“The pope has called us to Synod … he has called us to listen, to listen to our people and ask where we are going,” he continued. “May the Holy Spirit fill us at this time in the history of our church.”

This effort will help us to arrive at the heart of who we are as Catholics and Christians, Bishop Fisher continued. We will listen to our people and ask what they expect in terms of their faith.

And from this synodal spirit, we will become a better church and a more holy church, he said.

This opening of the diocesan phase of the Synod will allow each diocese to discern the most conducive ways of enabling a Spirit-led synodal experience for its people, paying particular attention to those whose voices have not been heard in the past including young people, families, migrants and refugees and the poor. 

Diocesan leadership is assembling a team to begin the process of consultations and meetings to discover how our diocese is journeying together.

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