Pope Francis has initiated The Synod on Synodality to bring a greater degree of openness, collaboration, and mutual listening to the church.
The Synod is a journey of discernment, in which the people of God are called to pray, listen, share and reflect upon the Holy Spirit’s will for the Church. The Synod is not about changing Church teaching but about listening to what the Holy Spirit is speaking into the hearts of the people.
Pope Francis has said that he would like to hear from “Everyone”.
That, of course, means he wants to hear from YOU. He would like to know what EACH of us think we should ALL be doing to help ourselves, our parishes, and the Church to more fully engage in life with Christ.
It is our collective hope that as a parish we will be guided by the Holy Spirit towards deeper communion, fuller participation, and greater openness to fulfilling our mission in this world.
We invite You – whoever you are – to join one of our Parish Listening Sessions. All that we ask is that you come in a spirit of discernment and unity.
We look forward to taking this journey with you as we fan the flames of the Holy Spirit to illuminate the path ahead.
SYNOD LISTENING SESSION REPORT APRIL 18, 2022
St. John the Evangelist hosted the universal Church synod listening sessions that were composed of three parts:
- Liturgy of the Word based on the gospel story of the “Road to Emmaus”
- Small group sessions to reflect on three main themes
- Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction
The following is an overview – not a complete listing – of the feedback received from these sessions.
Communion: Growing together as a spiritual family
- Participants have great personal relationships with God, Jesus, and the Holy These relationships are strengthened by prayer, Scripture readings, Mass attendance, and new opportunities that include “The Bible in a Year” podcast, livestreamed Mass, and special events for the homebound. Support for our spiritual relationships comes primarily from family members.
- A sense of belonging comes from close friendships with other parishioners, full participation in church activities and ministries, and receiving the Eucharist during Fr. John and our deacons are personally invested in their flock, and many people come to St. John the Evangelist parish and stay because of their dedication and love for this community.
- Young adults would like more ways to connect with other young Catholics and to participate in activities that help satisfy their faith curiosity.
Participation: Engaging more fully with Jesus and the Body of Christ, his Church
- John the Evangelist is a loving parish, and Fr. John’s personal involvement is much appreciated.
- Ministries are important for inspiring closer relationships with Jesus and the Ministries could be strengthened by improving definition of their purpose, being more welcoming to new parishioners and ideas, and allowing different people to serve as ministry leaders.
- There is some mistrust of the hierarchy of the worldwide Catholic Church that inhibits full participation in our There is a need for a pathway to voice concerns and be heard.
- The gateway to the parish is the parish office. This is our first opportunity to show that we live our faith Visitors should be shown hospitality and responsiveness in all encounters.
Mission: Witnessing to the Good News
- Jesus forgave and broke bread with all types of people, turning unbelievers into faithful followers by treating everyone as children of God. We should be more forgiving and non-judgmental to those who have not followed Church teachings by finding ways to communicate more effectively and by being more inclusive with marginalized people such as LGBTQ, divorced Catholics, and those in prison.
- Increase opportunities for Catholic outreach to support community needs and to witness the gospel in ways which are more transformational versus transactional.
- Parishioners enjoy Eucharistic Adoration, beautiful liturgical music, and involvement in small faith Continue to focus on liturgy and the Eucharist as foundations of faith formation and growth.
- The Church should be open to finding ways to reduce the burden on a dwindling number of parish priests. Could the Church develop a role for women, like deacons, that would not conflict with Church doctrine? Consider adding additional parish staff which would give priests more time to focus on their role as spiritual leaders rather than spending so much time on parish administration.