Parish Consultation (Synod), March 10, 2022

The Church of St. Luke The Church of St. Luke
Dear STL Family,
As we quickly approach our Parish Synod/Consultation, we only have an approximate total of 80 parishioners who will be participating in our sessions next week. It's not too late to sign-up. Please pray about your decision and listen with an open mind and heart to the following letter from our fellow parishioner, Rich Warcholik:
Brothers and Sisters,
     That is the way St Paul begins so many of his letters, and though I am far from being a saint, I dare to address you this way because that is how I truly feel about you, our parishioners, the living Body of Christ. I am St Luke’s Parish Synod Co-Coordinator and I want to clarify some things about this Synod. I thank all of you who have signed up for a session to share your experience with the Church, and your hopes for the future. I am now writing this specifically to those of you who have chosen not to participate or who are on the fence, unsure about what this really is. 
     Some of you have referenced this gathering as a discussion. It is not a discussion. On the contrary, YOU SPEAK AND WE LISTEN. It is a sharing from the hearts about our personal experience with the Church, both positive and negative, 
  • our hurts and disappointments
  • our joys and satisfying experiences
  • our dreams and hopes of what we would like our Church to be
We will meet in the parish hall in a large group for a brief orientation and overview of how this process will work. 
  • Then we will gather in circles of 6 people. 
  • We will be asked to focus on the three questions cited above for sharing. 
  • This is a safe, sacred circle, a space to be open, honest, and vulnerable. 
  • There will be no commenting, no discussion, no judgment, just heartfelt sharing. 
  • Each circle will have a facilitator to keep track of time, so everyone has a chance to share for no more than 3 minutes on each question. 
  • We will have a note-taker who will jot down the key takeaway from each sharing. 
  • All participants will be asked to agree to strict confidentiality of what is shared in the circle and by whom. 
  • In other words, What is shared in the circle, and who shares it, stays in the circle. 
  • The note-taker's anonymous notes will be compiled with all the other circles’ notes.
  • We will then review as a parish team to determine how to best address the needs and issues within our parish. 
  • Our bishops will also review the feedback to know how to better address these issues as a diocese.
  • Finally, notes from all dioceses worldwide will be consolidated and sent to Rome, where Pope Francis, will be anxiously waiting to hear from the Body of Christ as a whole.
     Some of you may feel that what you might share is too negative toward the parish, the diocese, the pope, the Church. But the Church needs and wants to hear from you. Trust the Holy Spirit to help you. Listening with an open mind to what the Holy Spirit is saying through you and all Catholics will help our Holy Father discern and address what the Church, or “field hospital”, as he calls the Church, needs to address to better serve the community and our world in the midst of these divisive times.
     We have all experienced hurts, disillusionments, even embarrassment with the Church at times. But most of us have also experienced times of joy, pride, and hope in the Church. And I don’t think any of us are without hopes and dreams for the future of our Church. Your input matters and our Holy Father, Pope Francis values the input of every Catholic, just as you know Jesus does. So, pray about this, talk to Jesus about it, and follow what His Spirit in you prompts you to do.
    I ask you to trust the process and participate. I personally commit to providing feedback to you. This process will culminate with the final Synod gathering in Rome in October 2023 so please be patient and as I get feedback, from the parish, the diocese, and the Church, I will pass it on to all of you.
    And if you would be willing to help us by being a note-taker, we would really appreciate that, too. It’s not difficult and we will provide training. 
With love for you, my neighbors in Christ,
Rich Warcholik
Many blessings and with a very grateful heart,
Jane A.
Sent by Jane Alfano