Diocesan Listening Sessions reflect passion of Faithful

A unique reflection on communion, participation and mission within the Church has been taking place as the Listening Sessions of the Diocesan Phase of “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission” continue.

Some 80 people from several different Parishes participated on March 3, 2022, at St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral. The Listening Session was offered in both English and Spanish. The feedback was both positive and passionate.

The format of the Listening Sessions includes an opening prayer and remarks from Bishop Frank J. Dewane. The Sessions transition into group table discussions focusing on some of the key questions posed by the Synod.

Diocesan Listening Sessions are 90 minutes in duration. Each s is being done to allow each table time to compile their thoughts and share their findings in response to the questions. Even with that focus, the lively table discussions are periodically unable to answer all questions in the time allotted. When there is time available at the end, individuals can add their comments beyond the table presentation. Participants are also able to share additional comments privately through an evaluation form.

One of the themes under consideration is “Speaking Out.” This theme is described by the Synod as follows: “Synodal dialogue insists on open and honest contributions of all the People of God. Both in speaking and listening a deep sense of courage and openness must be present to welcome all that the Spirit may bring forth.” This does describe the first four Listening Sessions completed.

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. Andrew Listening Session was the fourth of 12 planned through May, with the next two taking place Monday, March 14, at St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, in Fort Myers, then on Wednesday, March 16, at Sacred Heart Parish, 211 W. Charlotte Ave., in Punta Gorda.

Locations for the Sessions were selected based on geography and population to cover as much of the Diocese as possible. Additional in-person Listening Sessions will take place through May and will include a virtual session.

For Synod details, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org or email synod@dioceseofvenice.org.

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.

11 Diocese of Venice Listening Sessions

(Completed) Feb. 9, St. Thomas More Parish, 2506 Gulf Gate Drive, Sarasota (Eng.);

(Completed) Feb. 16, Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W. Venice (Eng./Sp.);

(Completed) Feb. 22, Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish, 2850 75th St. W., Bradenton (Eng./Sp.);

(Completed) March 3, St. Andrew Parish, 2628 Del Prado Blvd., Cape Coral (Eng./Sp.);

Monday, March 14, St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers (Eng.);

Wednesday, March 16, Sacred Heart Parish, 211 W. Charlotte Ave., Punta Gorda (Eng.);

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

To allow for the most participants, please register for only one Listening Session at https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/2022-synod-listening-sessions. A virtual Listening Session is in the planning stages and will be announced soon. Email synod@dioceseofvenice.org for any questions or comments regarding the Listening Sessions.