How participant feedback from catechetical sessions impacts the future of our Synod
By Lacy de la Garza
Special to The Texas Catholic
The beginning of the synod listening sessions signifies the conclusion of the synod catechetical sessions.
As outlined in previous articles featured in The Texas Catholic, the Dallas Synod catechetical sessions were our way of participating in Pope Francis’s global Synod on Synodality while preparing the diocese for the progression of efforts surrounding our own diocesan synod.
This transition time offers an opportunity to reflect on what has been shared in these conversations thus far, and also to encourage readers to participate in the coming sessions over the next two years.
Now we look to give an overview of responses by category, explain what will happen with this information, and show that our diocesan synodal plan encompasses addressing each of these comment categories in depth.
The four catechetical sessions were completed over a period of four months from November 2021 to February 2022. In total, roughly 1,300 people attended these sessions. Around 1,900 comments were qualitatively categorized into five broad areas:
- Leadership & Governance
- Catechesis & Ministry
- Social & Moral Issues
- Worship & Sacraments
No comment was made at the catechetical sessions that could not be placed under one of these main headers.
It is noteworthy that all of the concerns, hopes, and excitement expressed in these comments is slated to be discussed at one or more of the upcoming diocesan listening sessions.
The 10 public listening session topics have been released to those signed up for Flocknote from the Diocese of Dallas. (To receive these notices directly, you can sign up at cathdal.org/synod.)
A question I am commonly asked is now that this is compiled, what happens with this information?
Since this data was gathered to compile the diocesan report for the global Synod on Synodality, the roughly 1,900 comments will be aggregated into our Diocese of Dallas report that will make its way to Rome this year. However, since we are also in the midst of planning for our own diocesan synod, we will use this information to continue to prepare.
The preparatory commission has begun to digest this data, which will continue to influence the formation of questions to be posed at the listening sessions.
The listening sessions, in turn, will continue to produce information that will then be used to draft the eventual synodal resolutions that will be discussed in depth at the Dallas Synod meeting in 2024.
These responses are a snapshot of experiences. It is the role of the faithful to share these experiences so they are accounted for in the synodal process.
Your participation in this process is crucial for its fruitfulness. We encourage you to attend one or more of the 10 public listening sessions occurring over the next two years.
Lacy de la Garza is the chair of the Diocese of Dallas Synod Preparatory Commission.