Synod 2023 Listening Sessions Takeaways

Synod Listening Sessions

In March and April, the parish held seven (7) listening sessions to hear the responses of parishioners to the synod questions, given to us to prepare for the world synod in October. This is a summary of what we heard.  Next step is discerning priorities for the near future. Then, we will design and implement an Action Plan.  In addition, many of you filled out the Disciple Maker Index Survey. We will receive that feedback in early June.  Moving forward, there will be various ways to share that information with you as well as ways to work with the information from the Listening Sessions.

Summary Report of Synod Listening Sessions

Topic 1: Joys and Concerns about the Church from the People of God


  • Eucharist, the actual presence of God, gives a feeling of continuity
  • Francis is our Pope
  • sense of community; welcoming place; being around good people
  • “There is room in the Catholic Church for everyone. It does not matter who you are, what race, color, gender, socio-economic status, etc.
  • Receiving Jesus in the Eucharist – unique in the Catholic Church
  • The music and singing
  • Learning about sacraments, especially Reconciliation: Church gives healing
  • “Vatican II has a lot of substance/vision that we need to explore.”
  • “No matter where I am in the world, I can always go to a Catholic Church and feel comfortable.”


  • “Liturgy is a concern for me. I want to know what Jesus said and then I want to do what Jesus said we should do.  Other stories are interesting but they are not God….”
  • The young are not in church. How are we going to get them back?  Who will replace us?
  • Lack of vocations. Need married persons to replace the loss. 
  • Lack of membership
  • Need women priests; married clergy
  • Lack of giving; Finances
  • “Church in Urban America is disappearing: sexuality, birth control, women in the Church and sexual misconduct of the clergy.”
  • Misconceptions about the Church. The Church needs to be more involved in Social Justice, to do more for the poor.
  • How to make Church relevant to younger generation: Church Today is a Heroic Mission
  • Is politics taking the place of Religion?

Topic 2: Listening Aspects of the Church

 Encouragement to Speak up; how does the Church listen or hear what you are saying

  • The Synod Listening Sessions: Have more sessions to support one another.
  • I write letters but I don’t feel heard. I offered suggestions but nothing seems to change.
  • Need Social Sundays and Events
  • Women need to be recognized as equals.
  • “Speaking/Listening is a duality – imposition of rules needs dialog, needs humility.”
  • Local participation as a member of a ministry encourages me to speak up.
  • Surveys on parish issues
  • Availability of the pastor and the parish staff

Greater Opportunities to be Heard

  • More social gatherings for younger people
  • Promote people to engage online
  • Have social hour after Mass: Share on the Readings
  • Comment box; Town Hall Meetings
  • Through various ministries
  • More opportunities like this to tell the bishops what we think
  • “If we raise a regional suggestion or issue for the bishop to respond to, who makes certain it gets to the bishop or archbishop?  Implementation of a system for listening and responding could be a good thing if it were properly staffed and researched.”

Topic 3: Accompaniment/Journey

Helps to Grow in Relationship with Jesus and the Church

  • Bible Study and Prayer Groups, not Theology, based on the relationship with Jesus
  • Make people more aware of opportunities; extend a personal invitation
  • Connect weekly readings and homily to connect with peoples’ struggles and what’s happening in the world
  • RCIA – renewed my faith
  • Focus the Homily on Jesus
  • Spiritual Direction/Retreats
  • Theology of the Mass Seminar
  • For one year, have learning/sharing on the Eucharist, lead to action

 Support for People on their Faith Journey

  • Plan for young people, e.g., Mission Trips
  • Reach out to the College Students and the Young Adults (Instagram and Snapchat)
  • Send the young to Youth Conferences/ Have Guest Speakers
  • Education Programs and Socials
  • Families partnering to “build community”
  • Having a pastor in a parish
  • Homilies should focus on the Gospel
  • Have a simplified Missal available for persons new to the faith
  • The Faith Formation Ministry is one vehicle to help us
  • Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
  • Need Outreach, in creative ways, to bring people together.
  • Have an inclusive language Missal