People from every corner of the Diocese of Allentown left the opening meeting of the Synod of Bishops energized and enthusiastic, and with one goal in mind: Listen to as many Catholics as possible.
This initial group of about 200 Synod Ambassadors represents parishes, schools, and ministries throughout the Diocese. They will lead and inspire people throughout the five counties of the Diocese, through meetings, individual outreach, conversations, and an on-line survey, to provide feedback on their Catholic faith, on their relationship to the Church, and on their hopes for the future.
Pope Francis has called on Bishops around the world to gather this input from people in the Church, as well as from those Catholics who no longer are active, those who feel disaffected or marginalized, and even those of other faiths or those who have no faith. The reflections gathered throughout the world will be discussed at a meeting of bishops in October 2023 at the Vatican.
The first meeting of Synod Ambassadors for the Diocese of Allentown was held at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena, following a liturgically rich Mass celebrated by Bishop Alfred Schlert to open the Synod for the Diocese. At the meeting, the Ambassadors received suggestions and guidance on how best to reach out to as many people as possible to gather feedback.
People interested in being part of the feedback process should watch for more information on possible listening sessions or other feedback opportunities organized in the coming months by the Ambassadors in their area.
Alternatively, individuals may provide their input by filling out an online survey that will be available soon. Watch AD Today and the AD Times for news on the survey, and for a website link to fill it out.
“Here it is, the Holy Spirit at work,” said Bishop Schlert after looking out at the packed meeting room filled with lay people, clergy, and religious. As he explained at Mass, the core of a Synod process is people walking together, listening to the Holy Spirit, and doing so with humility.
Ambassadors will be gathering input over the next five months or so, and then will prepare a summary report of the feedback they received. The information will not only be forwarded ultimately to Rome, but also will be used by the Diocese of Allentown to help ensure that the local Church meets the needs of its people here at home.