Pope Francis has called the Church to a Synod, a process of "journeying together," to listen to the Holy Spirit and prayerfully discern our God's Will for us.
The first phase of this large undertaking begins in the parish. Parishioners are invited to a group process to bring their insights as we discern aspects of Communion, Participation and Mission.
St. Olaf invites parishioners to participate in one of three meetings (dates below). Participants should sign up for one of the three meetings. Participants will be assigned to tables that will focus on one of the three areas of discernment. Please prayerfully consider these questions before attending the meeting. The process will not be an attempt to discuss the questions or propose solutions, but to report what the participant's experience has been.
Please sign up for one of the following meetings. Meetings may last for two hours.
Wednesday, March 16 at 11:00 a.m.
Wednesday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 19 at 10:00 a.m.
Participants are asked to reflect prayerfully on all questions but will only respond to one of these sets of questions.
Questions about Communion:
- How would you characterize your Church community - the people who are journeying together? What persons or groups are left on the margins? How is your parish inviting those on the margins into relationship? (Consider different demographics, levels of involvement and levels of satisfaction. Also consider methods of outreach and evangelization and the effectiveness of those methods.)
- Who does our Church currently listen to? Who is not being listened to? Which groups are less likely to be listened to? Who is being left out of the conversation? (Consider age, social status, race/ethnicity, gender, etc. in your discussion.)
- Do our liturgies promote the active participation of all the faithful in the liturgy and encourage them to live lives of faith? Does the homily draw from the Word of God and inspire the faithful? (Who are the people attending and actively participating in Mass? Is the music calling the faithful to deeper prayer in the Mass?)
Questions about Participation:
- Under what circumstances and in what ways are Catholics communicating in the world today? How does the prevalence of digital and social media affect communication? (Consider communication at home, at work or online, the ability to have civil conversations while in disagreement, the interaction between clergy and laity, and communication between parish and parishioners.)
- How is the Church dialoguing, collaborating and resolving conflicts among its own members in the Church? (Consider this question on different levels: within your parish, locally, within your deanery, between dioceses, between different ecclesial movements or globally.)
- How is the Church dialoguing, collaborating and resolving conflicts with members of other Christian denominations, people of other non-Christian religious traditions and people with no religious affiliation? What have been the fruits of doing so, and what have been the difficulties? (Do you see your community working together with other churches in your area? Is it a remember of an ecumenical association or ministry? Is there interfaith service or charitable works being accomplished? Is your community meaningfully interacting with those that identify as having no connection with religion?)
- What areas and issues in the wider society is the Church focused on? Are there areas or issues we need to pay more attention to? (Consider politics, economics, culture, outreach, etc.)
Questions on Mission:
- How is the parish equipping and empowering people to go out and be on a mission for Jesus Christ in their regular lives? What obstacles do the faithful face in living and professing their faith publicly? What opportunities is the parish providing to help the faithful face those obstacles? What is still needed? (Do the faithful have opportunities to learn how to pray, learn how to discern and learn how to live as a Christian witness?)
- How are lay leaders given responsibility and to what extent do they have the authority to make decisions? (How are consultative groups used? Do lay leaders have the ability to make smaller decisions as well as either making or being part of the discussion for big-picture, long-term decisions?)
- What opportunities does your parish or community offer to raise people up into leadership positions? How are those in leadership roles formed to make them more capable of journeying together? How do you offer opportunities for those in leadership to listen and engage in dialogue with those they are journeying with? (Consider formation and leadership opportunities as well as town halls and open forums.)
- How are decisions made for the parish or community? (Is there a time of discernment and collaboration and who has authority to make the decisions? Who is engaged in the process? How are those not in leadership positions able to participate?)
Sign up today!