As the worldwide Synod on Synodality continues, we have an opportunity to build on the momentum and findings of the Synod in our diocese. We have heard what fills and breaks the hearts of 6,000 people across 470 diocesan listening sessions. Hearing one another’s joys, struggles, hopes and dreams in connection with the Church has been a gift.
In Catholic circles, the See — Judge — Act method of analysis balances thoughtful reflection with concrete action. We begin with seeing and listening, then we reflect and discern, and finally we act.
Our diocese is now in a period of discernment. The verb “to discern” means to sift through and to sort out. So in other words, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are sorting and sifting what we heard in the listening sessions to determine together a path forward.
From Sept. 20 to Nov. 20, I am asking parish councils and school boards to pray, discuss and arrive at consensus on the three themes that resonate most with the realities and needs of their setting. Of the 11 themes that emerged from listening sessions, we need to hone our focus and prioritize our efforts.
In the Synod we learned the importance of being a Church that listens. We must all listen and learn from each other’s experience. Consequently, in preparation for their discernment process, I encourage the members of parish councils and school boards to ask people in their community what themes they think need to be addressed in their setting.
The feedback that emerges from this process will help us determine the direction of the diocese for the next three years, as we address one theme each year. While the character and needs of each parish and school are unique, there is also much overlap in our communities. Let’s come together as a diocesan community to strategically address what breaks and fills the hearts of people in our diocese.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Thomas R. Zinkula
Bishop of Davenport