University of Notre Dame participates in Church’s Synod on Synodality

Author: Carrie Gates

Basilica of the Sacred Heart
Basilica of the Sacred Heart

The University of Notre Dame is convening a synod on campus, as an expansion of the worldwide Synod on Synodality, conducted by Pope Francis.

Through the Office of Campus Ministry, the University has invited nearly 2,000 students to come together, in groups of 10 to 12, for a series of listening sessions facilitated by a staff or faculty member.

In more than 100 sessions scheduled between now and April 8, Notre Dame students have the opportunity to journey together in a discussion of their spiritual needs and religious viewpoints.

“As Pope Francis has called on all leaders within the Church to listen authentically to the experiences, worries, joys and hopes of the People of God, we at Notre Dame were inspired to participate in this important moment in the Church,” said Rev. Peter McCormick, C.S.C., the director of Campus Ministry.

“As a preeminent institution of Catholic higher education, we feel that this will not only be an important way that the University can be of service to the Church — by helping to share the voices and experiences of young people — but also an opportunity to better understand the faith experiences and spiritual needs of our students.”

Each 75-minute listening session will focus on how students attend to their spiritual needs, where they find community at Notre Dame and what they would like the Church and the University to know about themselves and their faith.

The findings from these focus groups will be compiled and communicated to the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend as part of the global synod process — and will also help inform the University’s work as it relates to faith, formation and discernment.

“First and foremost, we hope that this listening initiative will yield deeper insights into our students’ lives of faith and their spiritual needs,” McCormick said. “By meeting with these students, we hope to better understand where they are coming from, their concerns and hopes when it comes to their spiritual journeys and how both the Church and Notre Dame can support them in their lives of faith.

“We also see this as an important way the University can participate and support the broader work of the Church. We hope that by sharing what we hear and learn from these sessions we can contribute to both the mission of Catholic higher education and the future of the Church itself.”