Pope Francis, Bishop Gruss, and Father Andy have a special invitation for you to “journey together” with the people of God, in order to grow closer to each other, closer to the Lord, and to His Church. Perhaps you have heard of the Pope’s initiative of interactive listening? It is called a SYNOD (translated from Greek as “Journeying Together”) and its purpose is to foster a more vibrant community of faith for the future.
We have completed our scheduled listening sessions with 128 participants attending our sessions. Comments from participants were very positive. Thank you for all that participated and assisted with the sessions. The output from our listening sessions (along with the other parishes in the Diocese) will be input to develop a Diocesan report for the Bishop. Our output will also be used to develop a Saint Brigid Parish plan for improving our “journeying together” towards a more vibrant community of faith.
Here is an overall summary of our listening sessions conducted at Saint Brigid Parish:
Early on, we decided to have our major listening sessions in conjunction with other scheduled parish activities, as opposed to stand-alone events. One of the two major listening sessions was scheduled after our March 20th 11:30 am Mass and the other was scheduled as part of a full day Lenten Retreat, scheduled on April 2nd. We also chose to have these two listening sessions later in the Synod process (ie in late March and early April) so we would have enough time to plan and advertise the sessions. We used the tagline “Journey Together towards a More Vibrant Community of Faith.” We also scheduled a special listening session for the high school students during one of their regularly scheduled Sunday evening meetings; a session for our Whole Family Catechesis group and we solicited written feedback from our homebound community.
Positive insights from the participants’ input included the following:
- Availability of the Sacraments, Traditions, and Worldwide Scripture Consistency
- Universal Sources of Catholic Authority (Magisterium)
- Participation in Retreats, Missions, and Study Groups
- Friendliness and Personality of Our Bishop, Priests, Seminarians
- Social Activities Such as Couples Group, Emerald Evening, and Fish Frys
- Catholic School and Whole Family Catechesis
Main challenges gathered from the participants included the following:
- Church Seen as Judgmental and Too Focused on the Church Rules, Excluding Some Individuals
- Clergy Sometimes Seen as Argumentative or Not Engaged with Parishioners
- Not Welcoming or Not Inviting
- Lack of Adult Faith Formation Opportunities
- Silos (Various Parish Groups and “We vs They” Attitudes)
- Lack of Communication of Parish Activities and Opportunities
- Lack of Support from the Diocese
Potential areas of focus or improvement based on the participants’ “hopes and dreams” toward a more vibrant faith community, include the following:
- Opportunities for “Faith Building” at All Age Levels
- Social Events to Build a “Family Atmosphere” in the Parish
- Re-energize Youth Program and the Involvement of the Youth
- Learn How to Invite, Evangelize, and Welcome
- Take Advantage of Alliance with MACC Parishes
- Eliminate Silos and “We vs They” Attitudes
- Understand Church Teaching Without Being Judgmental
- More Inclusive of Women in Liturgy and Laity in Church Leadership
- Expand Our Reach in Meeting Needs of Our Local Community and Missions
View the entire Saint Brigid Parish Synod Summary report here.
Questions: Contact Joe Plevyak (Synod Parish Coordinator) via Email or 989-245-1155
Prayer for a Synodal Church: “Journeying Together”