Synod Listening Sessions

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Parish Synod Listening Sessions. Parishioners shared beautiful prayers and conversations. Thank you to Colleen Mitchell & Bob Wassick for their commitment in facilitating the sessions. The Diocese has introduced an online survey available until March 14 at 11:30 a.m.  You may participate through this link:

Synod Listening Survey Online

Pope Francis is inviting everyone to participate in the upcoming Synod of Bishops, both Catholics and those who may not be practicing. The Synod’s theme is: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.”

Pope Francis is asking each diocese to gather to listen to each other. The goal of this journeying together is not to create a new vision or pastoral plan with objectives. Rather, the goal of our journeying together is to be present with one another, to listen and learn with each other, and to grow closer to the Lord and His Church. This Synod is not about changing doctrine or Church structures, but rather encountering each other as brothers and sisters in Christ and revitalizing the way the Church presents herself to the world.

Father Chuck invites you to attend one of the following 2-hour listening sessions, where you can share your personal experiences with the Catholic Church.

Once you’ve signed up, synod participant guides will be available to prepare before the listening session. This document will help you understand the listening session and prepare the thoughts you would like to share.

  • Sunday, Feb. 20 from 12:30-2:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Feb. 24 from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Monday, Feb. 28 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

To reserve your space, sign up online or contact Karen Levesque at (616) 842-0001 x110 or email.

The purpose of the Synod, and therefore of this consultation, is not to produce documents, but “to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to be nourished, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships…” (Preparatory Document, 32)

In order to “journey together,” we need to let ourselves be educated by the Spirit to a truly synodalmentality, entering with courage and freedom of heart into a conversion process that is indispensable for the “continual reformation of which [the Church] always has need, in so far as she is a human institution” (PD, 9)

How can I participate?

  • Sign up for a Listening Session & Read the Participant’s Guide in advance
  • Attend a listening session. This is the best way to journey together by sharing your thoughts and experiences and listening to others.
  • If you are unable or not comfortable attending in-person, an online method will be available.

What can I expect at a listening session?

  • Introduction and an overview of the Synod
  • Prayer
  • Facilitated small group conversations with focused dialogue, listening to the other participants, and sharing your own thoughts and experiences

What else can I do to help?

  • Invite your family and friends to participate
  • Ask your family and friends to reflect on the core questions and listen to their responses
  • Pray for all those journeying together and for the Holy Spirit to continue to guide
  • the Church in the Synodal process.

The Fundamental Question

A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, “journeys together:” How is this “journeying together” happening today in your particular Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “journeying together”?

In order to respond, you are invited to prayerfully reflect on the following:

  1. Recall our experiences: What experiences in our particular Church does this fundamental question bring to mind?
  2. Re-read these experiences in greater depth: What joys did they bring? What difficulties and obstacles have they encountered? What wounds did they reveal? What insights have they elicited?
  3. Gather the fruits to share: Where, in these experiences, does the voice ofthe Holy Spirit resound? What is the Holy Spirit asking of us? What are thepoints to be confirmed, the prospects for change, the steps to be taken? Where do we register consensus? What paths are opening up for our local Church?