As you’ve mentioned, one of the themes for your synod is building bridges to those who have left the church. Do you have any initial thoughts on how to move forward with that issue?Yeah, I have just one, and it’s a foundational principle that has come to the fore in my own reflection and prayer over the last six or seven years—and it is a radical change from what I used to think. I say “radical” because it really reworks a lot of what I used to consider the hallmarks of success. It’s this: Up to recently, the church has usually turned to creating a pastoral program when facing a pastoral challenge, to address that challenge. Now, that will always have a place in the life of the church. But I think the genius of Pope Francis is that he has expressed in words what I was intuiting, when he speaks about missionary discipleship, that we need to reach out one person at a time. That has phenomenal implications for the life of the church. If the methodology is “one person at a time,” then each and every baptized person is called to get involved. That’s the only way we’re going to do it. It also implies that we’re going to have to invest time to sit and listen to the people who we wish to invite back, to allow them to tell us their story, for healing whatever needs to be healed. And it implies that success has to be measured by sowing seeds, even when you don’t see the seed grow initially, because the person who comes after you sees the seed blossom. It demands a spirituality, it demands a discipline in prayer and it demands a pastoral faith reflection which will for many people be a brand new experience. That’s my initial insight going into the synod. It could be leaven for tremendous renewal of people’s lives because there are no more spectators at the synod.
Source: Church Reform from Below: An Interview with Bishop Frank Caggiano | America Magazine