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The Diocesan Permanent Pastoral Synod: On the Way Together

May 14, 2024 1:22:28 PM

The celebration of Pentecost this Sunday marks one year since Bishop Gary announced the formation of the Diocesan Permanent Pastoral Synod (DPPS). Much preparation and planning has been happening in the past 12 months, and the work of the DPPS will be beginning soon.

 Like all synods, the DPPS is a listening and discernment process. Its roots lie in Synod 2021-2024, in which Pope Francis invited Catholics around the world to walk together and listen to each other as the Holy Spirit helps us to discern the Lord’s will for His Church.

 The DPPS will allow us to continue our journey “on the way together” that began with Synod 2021-2024. As Bishop Gary has said, “People's sense of belonging in the Church grows and is strengthened when they experience being listened to and listening to the Holy Spirit.

 After almost a year of prayerful discernment, the initial phase of selecting Listening Facilitators is nearing completion. Most pastors/pastoral administrators with their parishes have chosen one or two Local Listening Facilitators, and these people are being provided with training and guidance in the skills of listening and creating safe environments to ensure healthy dialogue.

synod-facilitator-training-day-april-2024Facilitators attend a training day at St. Edward’s in Duncan.

 Over the coming months, Facilitators who have been trained and feel ready will work with their pastors / pastoral administrators and parishes to start holding Listening Circles in their communities. Listening Circles are a safe, respectful, and non-judgmental opportunity for people to listen, and to learn, from one another. The theme for these initial Listening Circles is “Your story of life and faith”: each person will have the opportunity to share highlights from their personal journey of faith.

 The first annual cycle of the DPPS will begin near the Feast of Christ the King, on November 30, 2024 - the feast day of St. Andrew, patron of our Diocese.  Local Listening Facilitators from each parish will meet in plenary with the Bishop’s Advisory Council and the Priest’s Council to share their experiences so far, and to discern a question to be explored over the coming months.

 Over the Winter of 2024/2025, Local Listening Facilitators will hold Listening Circles in their communities on the chosen topic.

 Then in the Spring, during the time of Pentecost 2025, the Facilitators will meet in plenary with all clergy, pastoral administrators, and Diocesan leadership committees: the Bishop’s Advisory Council; the Diocesan Finance Committee; the Diocesan Liturgical Commission; the Diocesan Health Care Committee; and the Island Catholic School Board. The group will listen and reflect on the results of the local Listening Circles, and the results of this meeting will inform planning and actions at both the Parish and the Diocesan level.

 After a break during the summer months to rest, reflect, and listen to the Holy Spirit, the DPPS cycle will then begin again with another Local Listening Facilitator plenary before Advent 2025.

DPPS cycle

The DPPS Cycle

As Bishop Gary said in his Pentecost 2023 letter, in the results of our synodal experiences so far, “a recurring theme is joy – the joy of our faith, and the joy of having opportunities for sharing, listening, and discernment in a space of encounter and mutual listening that incorporates the gifts of all the baptized”. The journey of the Diocesan Permanent Pastoral Synod will unite us, as disciples of Christ in this time and place, on the way together.


The Office of the Chancery

Written by The Office of the Chancery

The Chancery serves as the administrative office of the Bishop and the Diocese. We support and serve Catholic parishes, schools, and communities by providing essential services, resources, and ministries.

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