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Synod process continues in diocese with listening sessions

News of the Diocese

January 20, 2022

Synod process continues in diocese with listening sessions

The Synod on Synodality continues to unfold across the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland with dozens of listening sessions underway at parishes, schools and other locations. Hundreds of facilitators have been trained to guide participants through the sessions.

Each parish is tasked with hosting a listening session and other entities such as schools, religious congregations and organizations are encouraged to offer one, also. The sessions are to be completed by late March so the parish can collect feedback and prepare its report for the diocese by late April. Each diocese will send its report to Rome for compilation into a larger report.

The synod, which was announced in April 2021 by Pope Francis, officially opened with a Mass celebrated by the pope on Oct. 9, 2921 in Rome. The two-year process will wrap up in 2023.

Locally, Bishop Edward Malesic celebrated the opening Mass for the diocesan synod on Oct. 17, 2021 in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.

Both Bishop Malesic and Father Damian Ference, vicar for evangelization, used the analogy of a Thanksgiving dinner for the synodal process. The bishop appointed Father Ference and Lynette Saenz, assistant secretary for Parish Life and Development, to oversee the synodal process in the Cleveland Diocese.

Synod process continues in diocese with listening sessions

“Synodality is a word we don’t use often, but it is a concept we understand,” the bishop said. In his homily at the opening Mass. Synodality expresses the idea that we must walk together, he explained. “After all, we go together on the journey of faith. We are a pilgrim people – not just individuals walking alone. Synodality, a call to move together toward the goal of salvation, is in the nature of the Church,” he added.

The goal is for all baptized Catholics and others who are interested to participate in this process of listening, dreaming discerning God’s call for the Church.

“It’s not something that will sit on a shelf and collect dust,” Saenz said of the report. She emphasized that the idea is to find ways to move the Church forward through communion, participation and mission, the three themes of the synod.

The leadership group for the diocesan synod is working on ways to encourage participation at listening sessions from the greatest number of people. A website dedicated to the synodal process offers information and resources to help the faithful understand it.

“We want to pray with you, listen to you and hear from you,” Father Ference said. He encourages people to invite a friend or relative who may not be a churchgoer to attend a listening session to share their thoughts, also.

A diocesanwide event will be scheduled for late spring with nearly 1,000 people expected to attend. Details are being finalized and will be shared soon, Saenz and Father Ference said.

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