Cynthia Bailey Manns, one of the original members of the Lay Advisory Board that advises Archbishop Bernard Hebda and adult learning director at St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis, is one of 10 non-bishop voting delegates chosen by Pope Francis to represent the North American region at the first general assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Synodality in October. The delegates were announced July 7 at a Vatican news conference.
Bishops appointed to attend include Bishop Robert Barron of the Winona-Rochester diocese.
The theme of the Oct. 4-29 synod in Rome is For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission. Synod members are being asked to continue a “process of spiritual discernment” that was begun in 2021 and will continue with a second synod assembly in October 2024.
Bailey Manns, 65, said she is humbled and excited about the prospect of experiencing the Holy Spirit “as we do this sacred work of vulnerable sharing, deep listening and discernment regarding important issues impacting us individually and collectively.”
For Bailey Manns, the work has included being one of six archdiocesan representatives in the continental phase of the pre-synod preparations. That stage spanned the globe and produced seven continental reports submitted to the Holy See in March. For its part, the United States and Canada held 12 virtual assemblies — seven in English, three in Spanish and two in French — between December 2022 and January 2023. Those assemblies included 931 appointed delegates and 146 bishops.
In a statement July 7, Archbishop Hebda said,
“Pope Francis has honored our Archdiocese with the appointment of Dr. Cynthia Bailey Manns as one of the voting participants at the Vatican’s Synod on Synodality, beginning this October. … I have come to know and respect her for her significant contribution as one of the original members of the Archdiocesan Lay Advisory Board constituted in 2018. Not surprising for someone with years of experience in parish ministry and spiritual direction, Dr. Bailey Manns is a superb listener and articulate dialogue partner, skills that will serve her well at the Synod.”
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