Bishop Frank J. Dewane inaugurated the beginning of the Diocesan Phase of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” with a Mass Oct. 17, 2021 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.
Participating in the Mass were more than a dozen priests, as well as some 300 people from across the Diocese, representing many Parishes, various movements, Third Orders and many more.
In his opening remarks, Bishop Dewane said: “We ask the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts, our minds, and our souls, as we begin this journey.” Later, the Bishop said, “In this whole process, we have to make hopes flourish… to stimulate trust, one with the other.”
The Bishop explained that during the Diocesan Phase there will be a series of listening sessions which will take place in each part of the Diocese in the coming months. The goal of these sessions is to discern the Word of God in Scripture, what those Words are saying to us while remembering the living Mission of the Church. Bishop Dewane said this process must be based on co-responsibility in the Church, or an accurate synthesis with what was said in a process that is transparent and fair.
The sessions are being planned to allow for the maximum opportunity for as many of the faithful to participate as possible. A complete schedule of the listening sessions will be announced soon.
A reception in the Cathedral Parish Hall was full of anticipation as those present expressed their excitement for the opportunity for the faithful to provide input in planning for the future of the Universal Catholic Church.
Bishop Dewane stressed that the entire process will last more than two years, with the local listening session focused on transparency as the Diocese will record each session to ensure all that is said is heard.
“We want people to speak out, and as the Holy Father likes to say, ‘the Catholic Church is a field hospital;’ we are meeting to start binding up wounds,” Bishop Dewane said. “We will be there to listen, and to do it with a warm heart. We will search for healing and will increase the regard for one another. It is the common mission that we share what is most important.”
The entire effort to gather input from Dioceses around the world is viewed by many Church observers as the most deliberate, long-term and long-range process of seeking input for any Synod up to this point.
“While what comes from our Diocese will go to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), we are not tasked with putting together a document. We are tasked to listen, to get input, put it together and ensure the points that are made at the Diocesan level.
For more details on the Synodal Process, please visit the Diocese of Venice website at a www.dioceseofevenice.org.