Many parishes already have conducted or scheduled listening sessions as part of the Synod of Bishops, an opportunity announced by Pope Francis to listen to Catholics around the world.
In the Diocese of Allentown, the Synod process is well under way. In addition to listening sessions, there also is an online survey for Catholics to make their voices heard. Hundreds of people have already filled it out, in English and Spanish.
The Diocese of Allentown has more than 200 Synod Ambassadors representing its parishes, schools, and ministries. The Ambassadors have agreed to help the Diocese reach out to the faithful, as well as those who feel marginalized, disaffected, or distant from their faith or their relationship to the Church.
As part of the Synod, the Diocese will host listening sessions for the following communities in the coming months:
People with Disabilities and Caregivers
- 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. January 15, 2022, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Marian Inn, 3221 Santee Road, Bethlehem.
- 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, January 29, 2022, Holy Guardian Angels Parish social hall, 3121 Kutztown Road, Reading.
LGBT Community — Thursday, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. January 27, 2022, St. Francis Center for Renewal, 395 Bridle Path Road, Bethlehem, or via ZOOM available on request.
Young Adults and College Students – 7 p.m. Thursday, February 10, 2022, Holy Ghost Parish, 417 Carlton Avenue, Bethlehem.
The Diocese will be hosting additional listening sessions and will list them on the Synod website as dates and locations are confirmed.
“We hope that wherever you are in relationship with the Lord or with the Catholic Church, you will join us for one of the listening sessions,” said Kim Viti Fiorentino, Secretary for Administration in the Diocese, who is serving as Diocesan Coordinator for the Synod of Bishops. “If you are unable to attend or would prefer to share your feelings in writing, we would be grateful if you would complete a survey online, or in a printed version. Both are available on the Synod website.
“The Holy Father wants to hear from you,” said Bishop Alfred Schlert. “Pope Francis wants to know how Catholics experience and express their faith in these challenging times,” he said.
“The goal is to listen to all Catholics, wherever they find themselves in their faith journey or relationship to the Church, so that, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we may discern the best ways of addressing the challenges we face as a world and work together on a path of healing and unity through our Catholic faith.”
In addition to forwarding the feedback for eventual use at the Vatican meeting, the Diocese will use the input provided to help in meeting the spiritual and sacramental needs of Catholics here at home.