Padre Paul’s Ponderings: Upcoming Synod, Listening Sessions a way for All to Help Archdiocese Plan for Future

Upcoming Synod, Listening Sessions a way for All to

Help Archdiocese Plan for Future

Earlier this year, Archbishop Bernard Hebda announced that our archdiocese would be embarking on a synod. It’s been a while. The last one was in 1939.

What is a synod?  It is a formal representative assembly designed to help a bishop in his shepherding of the local Church. It will draw on every parish in the archdiocese to give input to the Archbishop and Archdiocesan leaders as to what the pastoral priorities should be in the next decade. Archbishop Hebda, in his announcement of the synod, cited Pope John Paul II, who identified a need for new canonical structures to reflect the conciliar teaching that presented the Church as the “People of God” and as a “communion,” as well as the doctrine by which “all members of the People of God share, in a manner proper to each of them, in the threefold priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ.” As such, the Archbishop really wants to have input not just from people at a conference table at the chancery office in Saint Paul, but from all the people he shepherds.

The synod itself will be held Pentecost weekend in May of 2021, and in a nutshell a synod is a formal representative assembly designed to help a bishop in his shepherding of the local church. The purpose of the synod will be to “establish clear pastoral priorities in a way that will both promote greater unity and lead us to a more vigorous proclamation of Jesus’ good news.” Each parish will have one or two people be selected to be at this Synod.

Coming up first through this fall into next spring will be listening sessions throughout the archdiocese. At these events, participants will gather together to pray, discuss, and give feedback on what is working well now in their parish and this Archdiocese, and what are the challenges and opportunities as we move forward together. The archbishop is scheduled to attend all of the events to pray and participate in the listening process. Coming up on Friday, November 15, there will be a listening session at All Saints in Lakeville from 6 to 9 p.m.

The full list of listening sessions can be found here online:

I really have to commend the archbishop for his leadership in setting up the synod process. He has a ton of experience as a leader in our Church, and certainly would be within his rights to arbitrarily set about implementing new policies for the archdiocese in terms of restructuring parishes and schools or changing the operations of the archdiocese or services provided. But instead, he’s opted to take the time to go out across the archdiocese to hear directly from the people, together formulating a pastoral plan. He’s also graciously set up time to hear from priests too at a separate listening session. He truly personifies what a servant leader is all about.

If you can’t make the listening session, please pray for the sessions, the Synod and all involved. Following is a prayer for the year of Pre-Synod Prayer and Listening:

Come Holy Spirit

Make our ears to hear

Make our eyes to see

Make our mouths to speak

Make our hearts to seek

Make our hands to reach out

And touch the world with your love.


Mary, Mother of the Church,

Pray for us.

Also a big “thank you” to those involved in promoting the Synod in our own parish, our ambassador team of Joan Somes, Becky Zuege, Bill Casurella and Mandy Grayson.

Have a blessed week!    ~Fr. Paul

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October 2019



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