By Sister Katie Eiffe, CSJ
By now, hopefully, you have heard about the “Synodal Listening Sessions” which are scheduled in the various Pastoral Care Areas throughout the diocese. These listening sessions are part of Bishop Douglas J. Lucia’s preparation for the 16th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in October 2023.
That may seem a long way off, and you may wonder “Why hold listening sessions now?” But the American bishops will be gathering in just a couple of weeks for their semiannual meeting in Washington, and the Universal Synod will be on their agenda.
The listening sessions offer all the People of God the opportunity to speak from their experience of “being Church” in our time, and more to the point, to speak from their heart about their own experience of discipleship, and to share their hopes and dreams, as well as any concerns they may have regarding the Church.
Bishop Lucia has pledged to attend all of the listening sessions; his responsibility is (literally) to listen to the people under his pastoral care, and to bring our hopes, dreams and concerns to his brother bishops, as well as to the Universal Synod.
In addition, of course, these listening sessions will be the first stage of preparation for our Syracuse Diocesan Synod in the spring of 2024. As we have noted before, the word “synod” means “to journey together,” and we are on the journey to a renewed and revitalized Church!
So, what should you expect when you attend a listening session?
Well, there are basically three components:
We’ll have a brief introduction about “how to participate” in a listening session (because it is different from a “town meeting” or a “conversation”).
Most importantly, we will pray together for the grace of the Spirit
and have a brief time for quiet, individual reflection.
The bulk of the time will then be given to you, the participants, to speak freely, boldly and courageously to the bishop. His role is to LISTEN; as
St. Benedict said, “to listen with the ear of your heart.”
Of course, our role is also to LISTEN … to listen with the ear of our heart to what others are saying. Together, we will all listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit.
In last week’s Sun, we published some “focus questions” to guide your reflection. You will receive a few handouts at the session to remind you of those.
So, our hope is that the listening sessions will be prayerful, honest, bold, courageous—and attentive to the Spirit of God within us and among us!
The schedule of the listening sessions is below. Please note that we will add listening sessions if needed.
Come and join us! “We’re listening!”
Sister Katie Eiffe is the Vicar for Religious and Diocesan Director of Synod Planning.
Diocesan Synodal Listening Sessions Schedule (as of 11/4/21)
Tuesday, November 9th 6:30-8:30PM Sacred Heart Church, Cicero
Wednesday, November 10th 6:30-8:30PM Christ the King Church, Liverpool
Wednesday, December 1st 6:30-8:30PM Immaculate Conception Church, Fayetteville
Thursday, December 2nd 6:30-8:30PM St. Patrick Church, Oneida
Monday, December 6th 6:30-8:30PM St. Paul’s Church, Binghamton
Thursday, December 9th 6:30-8:30PM Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Syracuse
Monday, December 13th 6:30-8:30PM St. Vincent-Blessed Sacrament Church, Vestal
Wednesday, December 15th 6:30-8:30PM St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Binghamton
Tuesday, January 4th 6:30-8:30PM St. Anthony & St. Agnes Church, Utica
Wednesday, January 5th 6:30-8:30PM All Saints Church, Syracuse
Thursday, January 6th 6:30-8:30PM Our Lady of Lourdes, Windsor
Tuesday, January 25th 6:30-8:30PM St. Paul’s Church, Rome
Wednesday, January 26th 6:30-8:30PM St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Baldwinsville
Thursday, January 27th 6:30-8:30PM St. John the Baptist Church, Syracuse
Monday, January 31st 6:30-8:30PM St. Malachy (church hall), Sherburne
Tuesday, February 1st 6:30-8:30PM St. Joan of Arc, Morrisville (Holy Hour 5:30PM)
Thursday, February 3rd 6:30-8:30PM St. John the Evangelist, New Hartford
Monday, February 7th 6:30-8:30PM Holy Family, Syracuse
Wednesday, February 9th 6:30-8:30PM Holy Trinity Church Gym (Utica)
Monday, February 28th 6:30-8:30PM Christ the Good Shepherd, Oswego
Tuesday, March 22nd 6:30-8:30PM St. Mary’s Church, Cortland
Monday, April 4th 6:30-8:30PM St. Joseph’s Boonville