​Deacon recharge spiritual life and renew commitment to God, archbishop and people of archdiocese

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Deacon recharge spiritual life and renew commitment to God, archbishop and people of the archdiocese at retreat

Deacons and their wives from the archdiocese gathered at Holy Trinity Church October 1 and 2 for their annual spiritual renewal retreat, with keynote speakers Deacon Dominick and Teresa Tomeo from Michigan.

Ordained a deacon in the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2012, Dominick Pastore ministers to couples at retreats, pilgrimages, conferences. He serves as a deacon at St. Isaac Jogues Church in suburban Detroit. Pastore has a master’s degree in pastoral studies from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. He is vice president and senior electrical engineer for SmithGroupJJR in Detroit. Pastore is a Knight in the Order of Malta, and member of the board of Mary’s Mantle, a Catholic home for pregnant and unwed mothers.

Teresa Tomeo is a well-known author, syndicated Catholic talk show host, and motivational speaker with more than 30 years of experience in TV, radio and newspaper, 20 of which were as a secular reporter/anchor in the Detroit market. In the year 2000, Teresa left the secular media to start her own speaking and communications company, Teresa Tomeo Communications, LLC.

Her weekday morning radio program, Catholic Connection, is co-produced by Ave Maria Radio in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network. It is heard on over 500 Catholic radio stations worldwide and on the Sirius Satellite Network. Teresa appears frequently on the EWTN Global Catholic Television Network, and co-hosts the EWTN television series, The Catholic View for Women. In 2019, she opened her own Italy travel consultation company, T’s Italy, and in 2020 created “T’s Teatime,” providing positive and inspirational blogs and videos to uplift people during difficult times, and encouraging others to spread the message of hope to the culture.

Teresa has written more than 10 books, is an international speaker, where she addresses media awareness and activism, as well as sharing her reversion to the Catholic Church.

The couple resides in Detroit and they travel the world giving marriage and diaconate couples’ retreats.

Presentations included “Remember to Remember;” “Remembering the Covenant;” “The Media, Your Marriage and Your Ministry;” and “Practical Steps for Growing in Holiness.”

All talks were followed by couple prayer, reflection, and discernment.

The retreat also featured a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS; with Auxiliary Bishop Gary Janak as the homilist.

The liturgy was followed an address from the archbishop to the deacons and their wives on the process toward the celebration of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, in October 2023, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.”

“Synodality! I’m sure you know how people love it when we use these fancy words in the Church!” Archbishop Gustavo said while laughing as he began his talk.

He explained that the word “synod” is probably older than most words in the English language. It is an ancient and venerable term in the Tradition of the Church. “Synodos” is Greek for walking or journeying together. Saint John Chrysostom even said that Synod and Church are synonymous. The Church was founded on Pentecost, 50 days after the Resurrection of the Lord, when “they were all in one place together. … And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2: 1.4).

“The Church is the assembly that comes together to give thanks and glory to God,” said the archbishop. “This brings to mind another word of Greek origin that we often use to refer to the main celebration of the assembly of the faithful: ‘Eucaristía’ (Eucharist) — thanks giving.”

Over time, as it became necessary to make more distinctions, the word “synod” has been progressively used more to refer to a specific form of assembly. As Pope St. Paul VI was preparing to bring the Second Vatican Council to an end he established the Synod of Bishops on Sept. 15, 1965. The purpose was to provide the appropriate space and method for further discussions of great importance for the whole Church. There are also diocesan or archdiocesan synods, which normally bring the clergy together to have such discussions.

The Synod of Bishops discusses many topics, and ones in recent years have discussed the challenges facing the Church in the Amazon region, the family, youth and the New Evangelization. Pope St. John XXIII convoked the Second Vatican Council as the whole world began to transition through the time that 50 years later Pope Francis has called an epochal change.

“Something that happens during an epochal change — as was the case for instance between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance — is that the value scale that keeps society functioning with a sense of normality is fractured. People no longer share the same worldview, and so distrust rises. Ultimately, authority figures lose credibility in the minds of people, until a new society emerges. When my generation was brought up, we were taught rules that most people followed,” the archbishop emphasized. “Through certain shared disciplines, we learned to relate to one another and with God, and we received our very identity as individuals and as a people. That no longer works like before, as people do not understand or trust one another like they did 60 years ago. In other words, we live at a time like the Tower of Babel, where everyone speaks a different language and walks in a different direction. Dictating rules and discipline is not enough.”

Pope St. Paul VI famously said that the Church is “expert on humanity.” And as the book of Ecclesiastes says, “Nothing is new under the sun!” When the Church was founded on Pentecost, the disciples “began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” The people gathered around them “in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. … Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them… Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.” (Acts 2: 4.6.41). Pope Francis has said that “Synodality is the path God expects of the Church of the third millennium.” And so, the theme of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2023 will be synodality itself. The title is: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.”

“Synodality is an essential dimension of the Church. It is expressed on the level of the Universal Church in the dynamic circularity of the consensus of the faithful, episcopal collegiality and the primacy of the pope,” stressed the San Antonio prelate. “Faithful to the deposit of faith entrusted to the Church by the Lord until the end of time, and in creative openness to the voice of the Holy Spirit, the Church needs to respond to particular circumstances and challenges. She is called to set in motion a process of listening to all the voices who together form the People of God, in order to agree in discerning the truth and on the missionary path to take.”

This context is the background of the specific ministry of the Pope concerning the exercise of synodality at the universal level. “I am persuaded” — said Pope Francis — “that, in a synodal Church, greater light can be shed on the exercise of the Petrine primacy. The Pope is not, by himself, above the Church; but within it as one of the baptized, and within the College of Bishops as a Bishop among Bishops, called at the same time — as Successor of Peter — to lead the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches.”

The bishops together carry out an irreplaceable ministry in the exercise of synodality at the universal level. In communion with the bishop of Rome, the pope, bishops exercise the supreme and full power over the whole Church in the name of Christ, moved by the Holy Spirit.

“In this case, given the importance and the nature of the theme, the Holy Father wants the whole People of God to take part in this process. For that reason, deacons have a special call during this process to be a bridge between the lay faithful and the clergy. The fundamental question of the Synod is how this “journeying together” is taking place today in our particular Churches,” the archbishop told listeners, then asked them: “What experiences in our local Church this question calls to mind? What difficulties and obstacles have we encountered? What wounds have we brought to light?”

Archbishop Gustavo then highlighted some key words for this Synod: Communion, participation and mission. He then elaborated, “Communion has its deepest roots in the love and unity of the Blessed Trinity. Together, we are inspired and grounded in the faith that we share. The Holy Spirit communicates the faith to each one of us through the rest, in communion with the bishops and the pope. Participation refers to a call for the involvement of all who belong to the People of God. Finally, mission expresses the fact that the Church exists to evangelize.”

He concluded by describing how synodality transcends institutions; this process does not affect only the Archdiocese as a local entity, but it also has theological and spiritual repercussions in all the baptized, whether they are aware or not.

“It should create an ecumenical ripple effect. The mission of the Church requires the entire People of God to be on a journey together,” he urged the deacons and their wives. “May our Blessed Mother guide us on this journey, and help us open our hearts to the Holy Spirit, so that we can grow together in our shared responsibility to announce the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world.”