The 12th Annual AUSCP Assembly was held June 12-15, at the University of San Diego. It was an opportunity to become “engaged with our sisters and brothers dissecting our theme, Unity through Synodality,” said Father Greg Barras, who was re-elected to another term as chairman of the AUSCP Leadership Team. “We continue to build and to grow from the spirit of our forefathers who discerned the spiritual core of AUSCP rests in the Spirit of Vatican II that is calling us to conversion every day and inspiring us to ‘enlarge our tent,’” Barras added.
Cardinal Robert W. McElroy welcomed AUSCP members and friends to the Assembly, on Monday, June 12, during Vespers. [Link here when the video is available.] Earlier that day, Sister Nancy Sylvester, IHM, Founder and President of the Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue, led a retreat on Responding from a Contemplative Heart: Living Synodality in a Polarized World. Sylvester also guided participants through the keynotes and events.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who was to give a keynote and celebrate the Assembly Mass, instead attended a Eucharistic Congress in Congo at the personal request of Pope Francis.scheduled as a keynoter and presider of the Assembly Mass, was unable to attend because of his papal appointment to a Eucharistic Conference in Congo. He joined us by way of a video interview with Father Stephen Newton CSC.
Videos of keynoters — all lay persons — will be available soon. Speakers and themes were as follows:
Dr. Massimo Faggioli, Professor of Theology and Religious studies, Villanova University, on the topic, The “Synodal Process” in the USA and in the Global Church: A Geography of Hope.”
Dr. Brian Flanagan, Associate Professor of Theology at Marymount University, (replacing previously scheduled Cardinal Tagle), on the topic, Synods as Liturgy: Presiding in a Synodal Church.
Dr. Cecilia Gonzalez-Andrieu, Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University, on the topic, Bridge People or Neglected and Peripheral? Latinas/Latinos Catholic in the US.
Sebastian Gomes, from America Media, presented a new documentary on parish life, “People of God: How Catholic Parish Life is Changing in the United States.”
Media coverage of the assembly included a report by Dennis Sadowski for National Catholic Reporter, and a summary on Today’s American Catholic by Michael Centore.
The Assembly elected four members to the AUSCP Leadership Team; Officers were elected by the team.
By a unanimous voice vote, Assembly participants affirmed a statement which had been previously for their consideration, “Being Gay, Ordained, Faithful to the Church and Appreciated by the Church: Are all these possible in today’s Church?”
The work of the AUSCP continues after the Assembly. The Work Group, Mutual Support, continues to engage priests and friends to carry on efforts regarding support and the rights of priests.
The organization, Discerning Deacons, was prominently present at the Assembly, discussing the role of women in the Church; the co-founders were honored with the St. John XXIII Award, as were the “Founding Fathers” of the AUSCP and Father Emmet Farrell.
Some participants at the Assembly traveled to immigration facilities in San Diego and Tijuana. A reflection from one of the participants will soon be available.