Diocesan Listening Sessions building bridges

Halfway through the Diocesan Phase of “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission” and the ultimate goals have not changed – to ignite minds, to warm hearts, and to restore strength in the common mission of the Universal Church.

The faithful taking part in the Diocesan Listening Sessions come prepared to answer the fundamental concept of what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church today. The latest Listening Sessions took place March 14, 2022, at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers and March 16 at Sacred Heart Parish in Punta Gorda. The feedback continues to be both positive and passionate.

The format of the Listening Sessions includes an opening prayer and remarks from Bishop Frank J. Dewane and then to lively table discussions. Each Session concentrates on questions inspired by 10 Synod themes supplied by the Vatican. Participants are also able to share additional comments privately through the Synod email, synod@dioceseofvenice.org.

Among the 10 themes under consideration is “Celebration.” This is described by the Synod as follows: “Journeying together is only possible if rooted in the Church’s communal listening to the Gospel and the celebration of the Eucharist. A synodal Church discerns how prayer and liturgical celebration inspires and empowers the community’s active participation in our communal mission.” Other themes include: “Companions on the Journey,” “Listening,” “Speaking Out,” and more.

Bishop Dewane has stressed during each Session how important it is to respond to the Synod, and the questions posed, in the context of what the Holy Spirit is asking of us, and can only be accomplished with an open heart, mind and soul.

Each session is being recorded to allow for proper documentation. The information gathered at the Diocesan Listening Sessions, as well as from direct or follow-up comments from the faithful, will be synthesized into a document which will be shared with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and ultimately the Vatican. Similar Listening Sessions are being held across the country and around the globe.

The St. John XXIII and Sacred Heart Listening Sessions were the fifth and sixth of 12 planned through May, with the next two taking place in Naples, first on Thursday, March 24, St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225, Golden Gate Parkway, and then Monday, March 28, St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Ave. N., Naples.

Locations for the Sessions were selected based on geography and population to cover as much of the Diocese as possible. Additional Listening Sessions will take place through May and will include a newly scheduled virtual session from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, May 25.

To register for any of the Listening Session, including the virtual session, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/2022-synod-listening-sessions. For additional Synod details, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org.

Listing of 12 Diocese of Venice Listening Sessions

(Completed) Feb. 9, St. Thomas More Parish, Sarasota (Eng.);

(Completed) Feb. 16, Epiphany Cathedral, Venice (Eng./Sp.);

(Completed) Feb. 22, Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish, Bradenton (Eng./Sp.);

(Completed) March 3, St. Andrew Parish, Cape Coral (Eng./Sp.);

(Completed) March 14, St. John XXIII Parish, Fort Myers (Eng.);

(Completed) March 16, Sacred Heart Parish, Punta Gorda (Eng.);

Thursday, March 24; St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225, Golden Gate Parkway, Naples (Eng./Sp.).

Monday, March 28, St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Ave. N., Naples (Eng.);

Monday, May 9, St. Catherine Parish, 820 Hickory St., Sebring (Eng./Sp);

Monday, May 16, St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples (Eng.);

Monday, May 23, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge St., LaBelle (Eng./Sp);

(NEW) Virtual Session from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, May 25.

To register for a Listening Session of the Virtual Session, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/2022-synod-listening-sessions. Email synod@dioceseofvenice.org for any questions or comments regarding the Listening Sessions.

Prayer for the Synod: Adsumus Sancte Spiritus (We stand before You, Holy Spirit)

We stand before You, Holy Spirit,

as we gather together in Your name.

With You alone to guide us,

make Yourself at home in our hearts;

Teach us the way we must go

and how we are to pursue it.

We are weak and sinful;

do not let us promote disorder.

Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path

nor partiality influence our actions.

Let us find in You our unity

so that we may journey together to eternal life

and not stray from the way of truth

and what is right.

All this we ask of You,

who are at work in every place and time,

in the communion of the Father and the Son,

forever and ever. Amen.