Our community of Old Mission San Luis Rey Parish began the synodal process by the end of January 2022, led by our now Deacon Br. Salvador Mejia, OFM. We started with a campaign inviting the parish community to participate in our Synodal listening sessions, one in English and one in Spanish, on March 26, 2022. The response from our community was less than ideal. Only 80 participants for the English session and 29 participants for the Spanish session.
Additionally, on March 1, 2022, our Youth Ministry Coordinator, Natalie Ibarra, held a synod listening session with the parents of children who were in Pre-Confirmation class. We have also included some of their input in this report.
One of the most interesting outcomes was that overwhelmingly the participants found these dialogues spiritually and pastorally very nourishing. The positivity of the experience was remarkable because the notes taken in these small groups reveal that participants shared significantly different viewpoints on the major issues they were discussing. This prayerfulness and respect for the dialogue constituted a glimpse of what a synodal culture might be.
After this initial phase of listening, the Parish administration and the Pastoral Parish Council undertook a process of discernment to evaluate the findings of the listening sessions using only the data that concern our community. Together we are seeking to outline what changes need to be implemented in our parish and to form an action plan specifying the goals for change. Just as importantly, the plan will speak to the synodal culture of listening that must be reflected in this change. It is particularly important that in this stage of the synodal process, all participants keep in mind that we are seeking to accomplish a genuine conversion of dialogue, decision-making, and pastoral life in the Church. Thus, how we undertake action is as important as the specified goals that we are seeking to achieve.
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