Concerned Catholics of Vermont: Call for Synod
Designed by Concerned Catholics of Vermont @2013, a nonprofit and unaffiliated organization.
CCOVT is a small faith group hailing from across Vermont. We seek to promote and encourage thoughtful and respectful discussion within the larger Vermont Catholic community on the current state of our Church. We, faithful people of God, are the Catholic Church.
Our faith is founded on holy scripture, in the precepts of the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, in the message of love as demonstrated by our Savior, Jesus Christ, and in a Catholic Church, open to the world, that celebrates the responsible formation of personal conscience through community discernment and prayer.
We hope for the growth of our initiative among Vermont Catholics and for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to guide us in positive engagement with one another, lay, vowed religious, and clergy, to affect lasting inclusivity, justice, and continuing constructive dialog.
The Call for a Diocesan Synod
On Saturday, October 18, 2014, more than 50 Vermonters met at The Weston Priory to discuss the need for a Diocesan Synod in Vermont. To access the report of our gathering, click here.
There are synods at different levels of the Church. A gathering of bishops world wide is called a "sanctus synodus", holy synod or ecumenical council. Vatican II was such a holy synod. There can be national synods or plenary councils as in the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore (1885) that produced the famous Baltimore Catechism fondly remembered –if not memorized – by Catholics of a certain age. Finally there are Diocesan Synods.
The conduct of diocesan synods is spelled out in Canon Law (460-468). Among the most important aspects of the diocesan synod:
* the diocesan synod is a group of selected priests and other members of the Christian faithful of a particular church who offer assistance to the diocesan bishop for the good of the whole diocesan community. * the following must be called to a diocesan synod and are obliged to participate in it:
diocesan officials, members of presbytery, some superiors of religious institutes and societies of apostolic life, lay members of the Christian faithful...chosen... in manner to be determined by the diocesan bishop.
* if the diocesan bishop has judged it opportune, he can invite observers to the diocesan synod other ministers or members of churches or ecclesial communities which are not in full communion with the Catholic Church. * all proposed questions are subject to free discussion of the members during sessions of the synod.
Synods in the Diocese of Burlington
There has not been a synod in the diocese for fifty years. In 2004 Bishop Kenneth Angell indicated support for a synod and there was significant support in the presbyteral council. However, because Bishop Angell was about to retire, it was not possible to convoke a synod. After consideration, Bishop Matano, declined to convoke a synod. CCOVT believes that the arrival of a new bishop is an opportune time to review the needs and desires of Vermont Catholics through a synod in the Diocese of Burlington.
Our website address, www.gmcatholics.org, reflects our felt connection to our green mountain heritage.
Concerned Catholics of Vermont (CCOVT) continues to build a positive relationship with Bishop Christopher Coyne having now held two meetings with him. Our second and most recent meeting with the bishop was on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Attending for CCOVT were Gary Chicoine, Nick Clifford, Frankie Dunleavey, and Dennis O'Brien, all members of the CCOVT Steering Committee.
Among many points discussed were the recurring themes Bishop Coyne has heard in his parish visits during his first year in Vermont, as well as resourcing and staffing in the diocesan offices, the formation of a new diocesan pastoral council, and CCOVT's continuing hope for a diocesan synod. A summary of our hour long meeting with Bishop Coyne can be found by clicking here.
Let us all continue our prayers for Bishop Coyne as he moves forward in his ministry here in the Diocese of Burlington.
A Call for a Synod in the Diocese of Burlington