"It was a wonderful prayer-filled discernment with representatives from across the entire archdiocese! We spent 20+ hours together with 500 people at the closing Archdiocesan Synod Assembly over the Feast of Pentecost. Together we exercised the practices of synodality promoted by Pope Francis—prayer speaking boldly, listening humbly and discerning what the Spirit is saying to us about how we will journey together into the future as church—particularly focused at the diocesan level. Our job was to discuss, prioritize and advise Archbishop Hebda and Bishop Williams on the pastoral priorities for our local archdiocese. It was highly participatory and very well organized. I was proud to represent, along with Aaron, the priorities from Saint Thomas More that surfaced this past fall with the input from 116 of our parishioners who wrestled with the Archbishop’s three areas of focus. We recommended seven top priority propositions out of of over 40 that we deliberated."
"In terms of process, it was similar to other previous steps along the Synod process—small group table discussions of possible priorities, followed by large group sharing by a subset of members selected at random, followed by voting and submission of comments for consideration by the Archbishop and Bishop. This took place over three rounds, with each round focused on a different Synodal focus area. Lisa and I both did our best to represent Saint Thomas More well, and carry forward the sentiments we heard in the Synod small groups this fall, as summarized in STM's Synod Small Groups Summary.The delegates represented a broad spectrum of perspectives from across the Archdiocese. While our primary concerns varied based on the differences in the lived experiences of our parishes, it was moving to participate in a gathering of 500 Catholics who were all so clearly invested in helping shepherd our Archdiocese into its next several years. There was also something powerful in having the opportunity for so many diverse lay voices to speak and collaborate directly, without the mediation of clerics, and try to bridge some of those divides ourselves. I'm grateful for Archbishop Hebda's vision and humility in offering us that opportunity. And I look forward to the pastoral letter he'll issue this November that synthesizes these discussions and priorities into a path forward!"
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