This past July, the members of the American Region of SOLT celebrated our annual assembly. The assembly is always an exciting and joy-filled time when members come together to renew old acquaintances, hear updates on the missions, pray together, and listen to thought-provoking speakers. Our assemblies have a theme which provides the framework for our meetings, talks, and homilies. The theme for this year’s assembly was inspired by the exercises in synodality which Pope Francis has asked the entire Church to participate in. As the Holy Father indicated, these exercises are intended to lead the members of the Church, “towards deeper communion, fuller participation, and greater openness to fulfilling our mission in the world.”
These three important aspects of synodality: communion, mission and participation, are at the heart of what the greater SOLT family was created to live and achieve. SOLT’s founder, Fr. Jim Flanagan, envisioned a family of priests, brothers, sisters and laity, united closely on teams, growing together in faith and working together to achieve a common apostolic purpose. For us, the synodal
process was taken as an opportunity to grow in our communion and participation in order to more perfectly achieve the mission of the Church.
The synodal process is above all an exercise in listening: listening first of all to the Holy Spirit and then by listening to one another. To achieve this end, we dedicated our week to the Holy Spirit, asking Him for assistance in opening our minds and hearts to the will of God. We invited an expert in communication to give a presentation on how to be better listeners. Members also participated in small group sessions during which we had the opportunity to hear each other’s thoughts on a number of important topics related to our mission.
For all those who participated, the assembly was a profound experience of the synodality of the Church, which is “the particular style that qualifies the life and mission of the Church, expressing her nature as the People of God journeying together and gathering in assembly, summoned by the Lord Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel.” By means of these presentations and sessions, the members of the greater SOLT family were able to deepen their understanding and appreciation of the charism of SOLT, affirm their dedication to the mission of the Church, and return spiritually renewed to their missions, homes and local communities.
Fr. Jerry Drolshagen, SOLT is originally from Detroit, Michigan. He currently serves as the Regional Priest Servant and lives in Corpus Christi, Texas.