Artwork by Marist students Madeleine Hopkins, Kellen Burggren, Amelia Watts and Elli Clark, all members of the class of 2022, illustrate the 
Marist publication’s 
spring 2022 article on the Synod on Synodality. The art pieces are titled, beginning at the top: ‘To Make People’s Hopes Flourish,’ ‘Teach Us the Way We Must Go and How We Are To Pursue It,’ ‘My Journey,’ and ‘The Guidance of Jesus.’ (Courtesy Marist High School)
Artwork by Marist students Madeleine Hopkins, Kellen Burggren, Amelia Watts and Elli Clark, all members of the class of 2022, illustrate the Marist publication’s spring 2022 article on the Synod on Synodality. The art pieces are titled, beginning at the top: ‘To Make People’s Hopes Flourish,’ ‘Teach Us the Way We Must Go and How We Are To Pursue It,’ ‘My Journey,’ and ‘The Guidance of Jesus.’ (Courtesy Marist High School)
EUGENE — In the spring 2022 issue of Marist, a magazine for alumni, parents and friends of Marist High School in Eugene, Rick Martin, the school’s director of campus ministry and formation, wrote about Marist’s participation in the church’s Synod on Synodality.

In his introductory column, David Welch, the school’s president, explained the importance of the synod, reminding readers that the church’s earliest synods, from the mid-2nd century, laid the foundations for how the church explains the nature of Christ and which books should be included in the Bible.

More recently, Vatican II quickened the church by showing Catholics a way to bring their faith into their 20th-century lives.

This synod, which includes every lay Catholic, is also proving important.

“There is little in a young person’s life that connects more powerfully than being truly listened to,” Martin wrote in his essay for the magazine.

That, he said, was what Marist’s participation in the synod meant for the community there.

Staff and more than 100 students took part in listening sessions.

Student insights

Martin summarized the students’ input like this:

• To the extent that we have experienced a welcome, inclusive, familial community that knows, cares about, and loves each other at Marist and in our church communities, we have been blessed.

• Our faith-based education, times of retreat and acts of service for the poor give our lives a clearer sense of purpose, connecting faith to our real world.

• When we are encouraged to freely take ownership of our faith, we step into our future world of responsibility for our own lives, choices and purpose.

• When these practices are absent — when we experience judgment, exclusion, religion that is forced or when our questions are not welcome — we feel like we do not matter, we do not belong and our faith dries up.

“In the simple act of listening, both our staff and our students walked away sharing a lightness, a sense of honor and dignity because they were heard with compassion and with appreciation,” concluded Martin.