In the sessions, people primarily spoke most of Jesus, the riches of the Catholic Faith, and their love for being part of the universal Church. They found joy in the living presence of Christ in the Church, in the celebration of the Mass and the universality of the liturgy, in their participation in and the availability of the Sacraments (especially during the pandemic), the gift of Sacred Scripture, and their sense of belonging to a parish community with a common identity.
These themes were echoed in the survey results, where over 75% of people responded that they agree or strongly agree about belief in the Resurrection, the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, that Scripture is the Word of God, and in Jesus’ moral teachings. One participant remarked, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone – sometimes we don’t appreciate our faith, but Jesus is the foundation of everything. This is the joy.”
Closely related to the preceding was an expressed desire for ongoing catechetical formation, discipleship development, and spiritual direction. The people of the Archdiocese are hungry to learn more about the faith they love so dearly and about how to share the Gospel with others. Parents want to learn how to better form their children at home, and individuals shared that they want to know how to share their story with others and accompany others on their journeys of faith.
People consistently asked for spiritual direction, Bible studies and small faith sharing groups, adult faith formation, retreat opportunities, and to hear from outside presenters and speakers on faith topics. One participant shared, “If you don’t know (the faith), you can’t live it or defend it.” The survey indicates that there is room for parishes to improve in these areas.
Less than 20% of respondents strongly agreed that their parish fosters their spiritual growth through small groups, retreats, or Bible study, and only 26% strongly agreed that their parish forms them as a disciple. With regard to evangelization, only 30% of respondents indicated that they share the story of Jesus with people at least once each month, and 25% of respondents answered in the same way about sharing their own personal story.
From the executive summary of synod results published on June 22.