Our Archdiocese has been on a “Synodal Journey” for over three years. Archbishop Bernard Hebda started this process which would help him, in conjunction with his staff, priests, deacons, religious and all concerned laity, to prioritize the multifaceted mission of Jesus Christ in light of the resources and history of this Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, which is comprised of the 12 counties of our Metropolitan area. It has been a tremendous process that has brought to light many spiritual gifts and fruits, including a deepening awareness of the divine and essential virtues of faith, hope and love to many parishioners.
The Greek word “Synod” is a combined Greek word meaning “syn” – same, and “odo” path. So, the “Synodal Journey” is walking on the same path of Christian discipleship led by the Holy Spirit who works through the People of God with Archbishop Hebda as our visible leader.
This journey spanned three years: The 1st Year: The Listening Church. The focus was listening and there were 19 prayer and listening events; 11 focus events; 8,173 participants; and 35,026 comments. In our own parish we provided three different times through-out the week for 7 weeks for people to participate in these synodal sessions. Each session included a videotaped prayer, lesson and focus questions created by the Archdiocese and viewed from our Smart TV at Holy Trinity Church.
The 2nd Year: The Church Prepares. “Having reviewed your comments, I am now pleased to announce that the 2022 Archdiocesan Synod will focus on three areas: 1) Forming parishes that are in the service of evangelization; 2) Forming missionary disciples who know Jesus’ love and respond to his call; and 3) Forming youth and young adults in and for a Church that is always young… There was an awareness that we would be a stronger Church if we would focus our time and attention on these three areas in the next five years, giving us a foundation for addressing more vigorously some of the other areas of concern that surfaced at the prayer and listening events.” - Archbishop Bernard Hebda
At the parish level I led those who wanted to participate in a 6 hour session offered by the Archdiocese where we looked at and prioritized three areas of focus for our parish community:
I. Continue to build parish community between the three churches. II. Build a vibrant youth and family ministry program. III. Reclaim Sundays as a day of faith and family centered on Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
With regard to #1: Despite the major disruptions of COVID-19 in many lives, including my own, and the change of my one and only staff person, we were able to:
* Enhance our Annual Parish Picnic by honoring our elderly parishioners. (We were also planning a parish faith and fun day in October, but since I had to replace and help train in my only staff person this has been delayed.)
* We were able to enhance our All-Saints Day Party, thanks to the many volunteers and participants, which raised
$1,800.00 for our new Youth Ministry Fund.
#2: The Youth and Family Ministry team has met several times and was instrumental in helping offer our youth and families:
* A fantastic Vacation Bible Camp.
* An enhanced Confirmation Retreat, including witness talks by some of our young adults.
* A 9th grade retreat.
* An 11th and 12th grade volleyball and pizza night, which led to a good conversation about a monthly Youth Ministry Night on Saturdays after the 5:30 p.m. Mass, which is still being explored.
* Offered “Marriage in Christ,” a seven-week seminar of which 15 couples participated.
* Are preparing for more Cana Family Institute activities.
#3: Our Liturgy Team meets twice a month and has helped encourage:
* Youth and young adults to lector, serve, sing and usher at Mass.
* Bring on board a new accompanist and encourage other musicians to join our team.
The 3rd Year: The next big event is the promulgation of Archbishop Bernard Hebda’s Synodal Pastoral Letter which will be released on the closing of this liturgical year, the Solemnity of Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, this November 19/20. If you want to read that letter by email, please go to: archspm.org/synodupdates.
Peace in Christ,