Canadian Bishop highlights lived ‘experience’ of synodality

Canadian Bishop highlights lived ‘experience’ of synodality

Bishop Raymond Poisson, the head of the diocese of Saint Jérôme-Mont-Laurier in Canada, looks forward to seeing “how the harmony between us will grow” in the wake of the first session of the General Assembly of the Synod on Synodality.

By Christopher Wells

“It’s very interesting to see how the harmony between us will grow with time,” says Bishop Raymond Poisson of the Diocese of Saint Jérôme-Mont-Laurier in Quebec.

In an interview with Vatican Radio at the conclusion of the first session of the General Assembly of the Synod, the Canadian bishop highlighted the “international experience” of synodality, which brought together bishops and non-bishops from every corner of the globe.

The Synod is ‘an experience of the Church’

Bishop Poisson noted that this experience was unique, beginning with the spiritual retreat that preceded the Assembly. “It was a very good way” to bring out the intention of the synod’s work, he said. “It’s an operation of meditation, prayer together, because the Church is not a council, an administration, a board of a big enterprise. It is not a multinational [corporation] that held a meeting in Rome to organize itself about what I can do for my best mission in the world.”

On the contrary, he said, “It’s an experience of the Church. We are together in prayer, we are together in meditation,” aimed at truly hearing what others have to say.

The experience is what is essential

The Bishop emphasized the importance of conversation in the Spirit and expressed his hope that the same method might be expanded beyond the General Assembly. “Yes,” he said, “there’s a document of the synthesis of the Synod, but it’s not for me the essential [thing].”

Instead, he explained, what is essential “is the experience we had together.” He said the challenge facing the Canadian delegates to the Assembly is to bring that experience to their Churches back home. “We want to share that with other brothers, the Bishops of the country, to [light] the fire and to make possible some formation about the dignity of each person in the Church, each baptized person in the Church, the dignity to participate in the mission.”

Revitalizing participation in the Church’s mission

Bishop Poisson said he hoped that the Synod would “revitalize… this idea of the participation of everyone in the mission in the Church.” Although different people have different responsibilities, everyone can be invested in the work of the Church according to their own gifts and charisms.”

Summing up the experience of the first session of the General Assembly, Bishop Poisson said the participants had produced “a first draft” to describe “what is surging from the People of God, what they think, what they feel about the Church, [also about] the Church in the world… [and about] what the world understands of the Church and its structure, but also its mission.”

Over the course of the next year, in preparation for the second session of the XVI General Assembly, Bishop Poisson said, “It will be our job to be witnesses of what we lived in the first session. And with time, I hope, in the Church and the parishes, there will be the same motivation. And perhaps with time, when we will discuss more accurately about structure, we will have some new ideas.”