Call for An Archdiocesan Synod
The Council of the Baptized (CoB) and the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR) respectfully request that Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda convoke the first Synod of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in nearly 80 years. He is urged to do so as soon as practicable to address the concerns of all the laity and clergy for their local church.
The most compelling reason for a synod is to discern, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, how all voices in the local church can be heard. Through our baptism, Archbishop Hebda, archdiocesan clergy, religious men and women, and lay women and men together give the fullest voice to the message of the good news passed on to all of us. A synod that is a welcoming big tent, open to many voices, will have a positive impact on our local Catholic communities and the broader communities in which we live.
Major Outcomes: A Synod guided by the example of Pope Francis will have many desirable outcomes.
Among them would be:
- A renewed commitment to the Gospel message as expressed in the Second Vatican Council and exemplified by Pope Francis.
- The reconstitution of structures for two-way communication among laity, clergy and the Archbishop.
- The reestablishment of an Archdiocesan Pastoral Council.
- The reestablishment of a Women’s Commission.
- A plan for seminary reform to produce a servant leadership culture among ordained and lay ministers.
Our major concerns surrounding the preparation for a synod are twofold:
- that there be full participation of all the baptized; and
- that the agenda address issues and needs expressed repeatedly over the last ten years.
Participation. Broad participation of all the faithful is critical to the ultimate success of the Synod. In addition to clergy and lay representatives of the Chancery, representative members of all the clergy, religious congregations, parishes and lay organizations must be present in order to give full voice to the entire Archdiocesan community.
Synodal Sessions. In addition to those officially called to the synod, all general synodal sessions should be held in venues conducive to making it possible for others to attend and observe this historic event.
Synod Agenda. Consultation about the concerns of Catholics in the archdiocese has been underway during the last ten years in a variety of forums and settings. Our own Pastoral Recommendation Project has identified areas of concern and made recommendations. Some of them as well as others were heard in Archbishop Hebda’s listening sessions in the fall of 2015. Based on these sources and others, we expect that an agenda rich in possibilities and authentic in its diversity will be produced.
Promotion. With no historic precedent for a synod in the archdiocese, it will be extremely important that “synod” be defined and explained throughout the diocese. The Council of Baptized offers its full support of the synod both in preparation and execution. The announcement of the synod should include information that is shared with parish leadership and clearly explains why a synod is being convened, how it is organized and what outcomes may result. It should be celebrated with appropriate opening and closing liturgical events open to all the faithful of the archdiocese.
Drafted for the Council of the Baptized by:
Michael Anderson, Thomas Bartoe, James J. Jordan, Mary Ellen Jordan, James W. Moudry, Joe Reid, and Paula Ruddy