“We are a pilgrim people, a community of believers on the way to the Father together. How we get there with one another as a Church is the focus of this synodal process. My prayer is that with the Holy Spirit to guide us, what flows from this synod will preserve the fire of faith in Jesus Christ as our savior through the ages.” - Bishop Malesic
Thank you for participating in this first phase of the upcoming Synod of Bishops. The theme for this synod is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.” Synodality expresses the nature of the Church as the People of God journeying together and gathering in assembly, summoned by the Lord Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel. Pope Francis has invited everyone to participate in a dialogue with one another and with the worldwide Catholic Church. In this phase, we are asking all Catholic parishes, schools and organizations in our diocese to gather, listen and discern what it means to be Church and where the Holy Spirit is calling us.
This is a process of communal discernment, rather than individual discernment. As such, we are called to journey through this process together. During this listening process, we are inviting everyone to engage in reflection and the practice of Spiritual Conversations using St. Ignatius of Loyola's great prayer of Examen, Scripture meditation, or less formal ways of sharing. We will reflect back on our experiences, both collectively and individually, and then project forward and ask “Where is the Holy Spirit leading us as a diocese?”
Each individual matters and each of our experiences are valid and in need of ears to listen. Nobody is excluded - all are welcome. We are on this journey of faith together. In seeking where God has been beckoning to us, we also look to where that same call harkens us forward into a new and vibrant way of being Church together.
The following resources are offered as a guide to support parishes, schools and Catholic organizations as they implement the diocesan synodal process in their respective communities.
In this toolkit, you will find the outline for the listening sessions, ideas for reaching out to those on the margins and other informal opportunities for sharing and listening, as well as resources for promoting the listening sessions in your community.
The Facilitator Guide serves as an instruction manual for those individuals leading the small group conversations during the listening sessions. The facilitator will also need the Sign-in Sheet to collect basic information about participants.
This guide will assist participants during the gathered listening sessions and includes the Missionary Action instructions and report form.
Each small group will complete the Listening Session Recorder Form immediately following the session and return it to the the Synod contact person for the parish, school or organization.
After collecting the notes and sign-in sheets from the listening sessions, the Synod contact person at the parish, school or organization will synthesize the input gathered using this template to develop one summary report of 3-5 pages.
These resources will help raise awareness and promote the Synod. You will find the official logo for the Synod, prayer cards, social media images and flyers.
The Syndod resources have also been adapted for use in different settings. Feel free to adapt the process in other ways to meet the needs of your community.
These resources are offered to assist catechists, teachers and parents.
A 2-page handout with instructions and report form for missionary action following the listening sessions.
This guide serves as a guide for listening sessions with members of other Christian traditions and denominations.
Lent. A handout with conversations that can be used during Lent to engage family and friends in the Synod listening process.
Holiday Gatherings. A handout with conversation starters for holiday gatherings with family and friends.
Las Posadas. A novena that takes place December 16-24 and commemorates the journey Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of lodging or an “inn” (literally what posada means) so Mary could give birth to Jesus.
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