Holy Father asks us all to share ideas in survey, Town Hall Listening Sessions
Diocese of Greensburg announces “Synod” participation opportunities
By Jennifer Miele
Chief Communications Officer and Managing Director of Evangelization
The Diocese of Greensburg is undertaking a massive effort to listen to a broad range of people throughout our faith community and to discuss major issues together with a goal of hearing where the Holy Spirit is calling the Church. These efforts include a pastoral connectivity survey and a series of both in-person and virtual town hall meetings, at which Bishop Larry J. Kulick will be present.
What is a synod?
A synod is a gathering of church leaders, both clergy and laity. In April 2021, Pope Francis initiated a synodal journey of the whole People of God, to take place in individual Dioceses in 2022 and culminating in October 2023 in the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome.
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the current synodal process is guided by a fundamental question: How does this “journeying together” take place today on different levels, from the local level to the universal one, allowing the Church to proclaim the Gospel? And what steps is the Holy Spirit inviting us to take to grow as a synodal Church?
The USCCB says this “Synod on Synodality” is intended to inspire people to dream about the Church we are called to be, to make people’s hopes flourish, to stimulate trust, to bind up wounds, to weave new and deeper relationships, to learn from one another, to build bridges, to enlighten minds, to warm hearts, and to restore strength to our hands for our common mission.
Pope Francis made this clear when he issued a direct invitation to all the People of God to contribute to Church efforts towards healing: “Every one of the baptized should feel involved in the ecclesial and social change that we so greatly need. This change calls for a personal and communal conversion that makes us see things as the Lord does.”
The Diocesan phase of a synod
The USCCB provided an explanation of the Diocesan phase of a synod, saying “In this listening phase, we encourage people to gather, respond to stimulus questions/images/scenarios together, listen to each other, and provide individual and group feedback, ideas, reactions and suggestions. However, if circumstances (such as pandemic restrictions or physical distance) make face-to-face interaction difficult, then it is possible to use moderated online discussion groups, self-guided online activities, chat groups, phone calls and various forms of social communication, as well as paper-based and online questionnaires.”
How you can participate
- Take the Pastoral Connectivity Survey. This short survey is open to everyone and can be taken online at www.dioceseofgreensburg.org/synod. Click on “Take Pastoral Connectivity Survey.” A QR code is also available that will link you directly to the survey. Or take the paper survey included in this issue of The Catholic Accent. Please mail your completed survey response to: Office of Communications, 725 E. Pittsburgh St., Greensburg, Pa. 15601.
- Attend an in-person Town Hall Listening Session. Town Hall Listening Sessions are open to all members of the community, including our young people. These locations were selected because of their accessibility to highways and abundance of parking. They are not exclusively for members of the parish where they are being held. Parishioners and members of the community are invited to join Bishop Kulick at any of them, no matter the location. Each will begin with a short prayer service in the church, then move into small group break-out sessions in the social hall of each parish. It is important to note that break-out sessions are being facilitated by volunteers and faith formation/youth ministry staff members from area parishes who will work to engage parishioners of all ages in the discussions.
Town Hall Listening Sessions
Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2-4 p.m.
St. James Parish
306 St. James Lane
New Alexandria, Pa. 15670
Thursday, Feb. 3, 6-8 p.m.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux Parish
200 Clairvaux Drive
Indiana, Pa. 15701
Tuesday, Feb. 8, 6-8 p.m.
St. Rita Parish
116 S. Second St.
Connellsville, Pa. 15425
Thursday, Feb. 10, 4-6 p.m.
St. Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish
101 W. High St.
Kittanning, Pa. 16201
Wednesday, Feb. 16, 6-8 p.m.
Our Lady of Grace Parish, Albanese Hall
1011 Mount Pleasant Road
Greensburg, Pa. 15601
Thursday, Feb. 17, 6-8 p.m.
St. Margaret Mary Parish
3055 Leechburg Road
Lower Burrell, PA 15068
Tuesday, Feb. 22, 6-8 p.m.
St. Joseph Parish
180 Old Walnut Hill Road
Uniontown, PA 15401
- Participate in a Zoom Town Hall Listening Session. There are currently three sessions scheduled. Each will begin with a virtual prayer service and then participants will be sent to a virtual break-out room for small group discussion.
- Zoom Town Hall Listening Session for young adults ages 18-30
Zoom break-out sessions are being facilitated by volunteers and faith formation/youth ministry staff members from area parishes who will work to engage young adult parishioners.
Wednesday, Feb. 9, 5:30-7 p.m.
Register for Zoom Link at www.dicoeseofgreensburg.org/townhall
- Zoom Town Hall Listening Session for youth, individuals who are 18 and younger Again, Zoom break-out sessions are being facilitated by volunteers and faith formation/youth ministry staff members from area parishes who will work to engage younger parishioners.
Sunday, Feb. 20, 6:30-8 p.m.
Register for Zoom Link at www.dicoeseofgreensburg.org/townhall
- Zoom Town Hall Listening Session for all parishioners, including those who may feel more comfortable participating virtually
Monday, Feb. 28, 6-7:30 p.m.
Register for Zoom Link at www.dioceseofgreensburg.org/townhall
Additional synodal efforts
Bishop Kulick will meet with the pastoral and finance councils of a dozen Diocesan parishes in February. He is hopeful this will provide him an opportunity to listen to lay leaders and to learn more about the viability and vitality of our parishes.
Bishop Kulick is thankful to the Diocesan Synod Committee, who has assisted him in these efforts, including Deacon F. Daniel Frescura, who will preach at each of the prayer services.