A Church Which Listens

CLI Supports the Synod

This summer I had the blessing of visiting some of God’s most beautiful creations – Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, the Black Hills of South Dakota, and more.

Standing in awe of God’s grandeur, I found myself listening. Listening to the sounds of His creation.

Catholic Leadership Institute embraces that joy of listening too.

In the spirit of listening, we have been blessed to accompany several arch/dioceses as part of the Synod on Synodality.

Pope Francis tells us: “A synodal Church is a Church which listens.”

Facilitating listening sessions and hearing from fellow Catholics throughout this process was inspiring and offered great hope for the future.

Imagine how humbling it was to hear people share: “The Church has never asked me what I thought before. This is so beautiful.”

READ BELOW to learn more about our synodal work and for a link to the awesome work done in one archdiocese!


What is the Synod?

The word synod means “coming together”

The Synod on Synodality is a two-year process of listening and dialogue beginning in 2021 and concluding in 2023 that invites Catholics to come together.

Pope Francis invites the entire Church to listen to and collaborate with each other. Catholic Leadership Institute was blessed to accompany dioceses as they embarked upon this process.

Accompanying Five Dioceses

At CLI, we have been listening alongside five arch/dioceses:

  • Archdiocese of Philadelphia
  • Diocese of Wichita
  • Diocese of Tulsa
  • Archdiocese of St. Louis
  • Archdiocese of San Francisco – CLICK HERE to see the amazing work accomplished by the archdiocese with support from CLI

Gathering & Synthesizing Feedback from God’s People

Our synodal support is grounded in prayer, teamwork, listening sessions, and assessment of data. Elements of our support included:

  • Collecting feedback via the Disciple Maker Index from parishioners
  • Training facilitators in dioceses to assist in planning, inviting, facilitating, and hosting as many listening sessions as possible
  • Hosting listening sessions across the diocese, both virtual and in person
  • Synthesizing feedback into themes, learnings, and calls to action
  • Assisting with preparing the report to be sent to the Vatican

Insights Into Synod Listening Sessions

Listening sessions are founded in prayer, scripture readings, and discussion. The heart of the sessions focused on three sets of questions:

Topic 1: Joys and Concerns about the Church from the people of God

What fills you with joy about the Church?
What concerns do you have about the Church?

Topic 2: Listening Aspect of the Church

In what ways or moments has the Church encouraged you to speak up? How does the Church listen to you or hear what you are saying?
How can the Church create greater opportunities for people to be heard?

Topic 3: Accompaniment/Journey

How can the Church help you and others to grow in your relationship with Jesus and your relationship with the Church?
What can the Church do to support people on their faith journeys?

Conversations Inspired by the Holy Spirit

These questions opened the hearts of those attending. The Holy Spirit was present and alive in these conversations.

Over and over again, we heard that this was the first time most had ever been asked what they thought, felt, and hoped for our Church. This is truly the openness and conversation Pope Francis hoped to inspire!

Journeying Together

All of the efforts of the synod will seek to inspire a Church that “journeys together.” This means that our Church will walk together and listen to each other, to the Holy Spirit, and the will of God in each of our hearts. Listening will be the cornerstone of how we live our faith.

Through this work we have learned: it is not always about the destination. It is about the journey.

This synodal work is truly just the start of a journey for these dioceses!

p.s. If you haven’t clicked on the link to the work done in San Francisco, I encourage you to do so: you will be impressed by what they have learned by listening!

by Chad Peddicord

Aug 31, 2022

Updates