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 | Katie Camario

Catholics Pray for an Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

On Sunday October 17th, Bishop Gregory Parkes opened the diocesan phase of the Synod on Synodality called for by Pope Francis with a Mass celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg.

“We do so in a most appropriate way, by coming together, by gathering to pray and specifically to ask for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit to guide us through this process,” said Bishop Parkes in his homily.

Our Holy Father Pope Francis has chosen the theme of “synodality” for the next Synod of Bishops planned for October of 2023.

“Synodality refers to a style or way of doing things that characterizes the life of the entire Church. It’s a way of mutual listening, dialogue and collective discernment,” said Bishop Parkes during his homily.

The theme of the Synod is: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.” Starting in Advent and continuing through February, the Diocese of St. Petersburg will hold sessions of prayer and discernment for encountering the Lord and for listening to the Holy Spirit and each other.

The reflections shared will be compiled into a report that will be submitted to the U.S. and Canadian Conferences of Bishops for a continental report that will be presented to Pope Francis.

Those who attended the Mass were excited to be part of this initiative, “I was like wow! This is an awesome event and I want to be part of it” said Norma Blanco, a parishioner of Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Temple Terrace, “It’s not something that happens every day.”

The purpose of this global process is not to collect everyone's individual opinions and it’s not about changing Church teaching, but it’s about hearing what the Holy Spirit is saying to us through our prayers and reflections.

“It is a process of journeying together, of walking together in prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit and to one another,” said Bishop Parkes.

Blanco is looking forward to being part of this journey, “It’s an awesome thing to think that so many people from different walks of life are going to be able to come together and share their ideas and points of views and the Church is going to listen and from that hopefully go forward.”

The concept of encounter will be an important part of the Synodal process.

“The Gospels are filled with accounts of how Jesus encountered people in the course of his public ministry. These encounters resulted in healing, forgiveness and conversion. They were life changing experiences for many who encountered the Lord with a spirit of openness, trust and faith,” said Bishop Parkes.

Dottie Vinson, a parishioner of Most Holy Redeemer in Tampa, said she will remain open and willing to let God take her by the hand and lead her down the path that He wants us to go.

“We are the body of Christ, so we walk hand in hand with one another and the more we walk in love and in unity with each other the more we attract and bring others to Christ,” said Vinson.

This process also seeks the participation of non-Catholics and even non-Christians for several reasons. First, the Catholic Church cares for all people, not only those who currently identify as Catholic. As Pope Francis has said on multiple occasions, we are all in the same boat. We are one human family living in our common home. (Laudato Si’and Fratelli Tutti).

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To read the bishop’s homily from the Opening Mass of the Synod on Synodality, click here.

Catholics Pray for an Outpouring of the Holy Spirit 2

St Joseph Parish in St. Petersburg was well represented at the Opening Mass of the Synod for the Diocese of St Petersburg.