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What is a "Synod?"

Dear Parish Family,

What Pope Francis is attempting is huge, and it’s never been done before.

He’s trying to hear from every Catholic in the world. He wants to welcome every person who has ever been baptized to speak up, and share their experience of the Catholic Church in their life. Every Catholic bishop in the world has been asked to find a way to do this on the local level in the next couple of months, and then to add it to what we have heard on the national and worldwide levels. The ancient name for this process is “synod.” Pope Francis wants to know what we feel he needs to know.

I’ve been asking friends all over the country how they are seeing these conversations being handled in their parishes, and it’s been fascinating to hear the questions that are being asked.

In one friend’s parish, they were asked five simple questions. One that interested me was:

  • “What best takes away your reluctance to share your faith with others? In other words, under what conditions are you willing to tell other people what God is doing in your life?”

In another diocese, everyone got an email with a series of questions on their experience of the parish, scaled from 1 to 5, such as…

  • “My parish makes me feel welcomed and accepted.”

  • “Someone from the parish follows up with me when I express interest or a need.”

  • “I feel able to be involved in the decisions that affect the future of my parish.”

  • “It’s not hard for me to get information about what is going on in my parish.”

This local synod process is now beginning in our own Diocese. Entering its first stage, it is simply an opportunity for you to share your thoughts, your hopes and your needs as a Catholic. Whatever we share will add our voice to the worldwide consultation Pope Francis is seeking.

Bishop Ed and his Synod team are offering a webinar open to all on Tuesday this week:

“What is the Synod and Why Should I Care?

All the Baptized – Co-responsible for Mission”

You can choose a morning or evening session Tue. Feb. 8 at 10 a.m. or at 7 p.m.

Let’s hear what our sisters and brothers have to say.

Faithfully yours,

Father Scott

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