2nd Synod of the Diocese of Reno
What is it?
A synod is the formal gathering of the Church convened to discern, discuss, and plan. The Vatican holds Synods every few years.
Dioceses also hold synods. The very first Diocesan Synod in Reno took place in the 1950’s.
Bishop Randolph Calvo, in 2013, discerned it was time for another. The Presbyteral Council agreed.
Therefore a three year process commenced with a team of Lay and Clergy going out and seeking input from Catholics from within our diocese. Then a process of delegate selection took place throughout 2015.
Synod Delegates gathered in December of 2015 to discuss matters brought forth from the parishes. Over three long days of prayer, discussion and discernment, objectives were voted on and submitted to the Bishop.
Then on Pentecost Sunday, May of 2016, those objectives were formally presented to and accepted by Bishop Calvo.
DOCUMENTS OF THE 2ND SYNOD
Diocesan Pastoral Council
This council was formed by Bishop Calvo and follows the Second Synod of the Diocese of Reno. It has the responsibility for oversight of the implementation of the directives and objectives of the Second Synod.
This council meets almost every month to plan and how the implementation can proceed. Sixteen members are appointed from Parish Councils. There are three delegates from each deanery and four appointed from at large. Two priests are elected by the Priest Council. There will also be two ex-officio members, the Vicar General and the Moderator of the Curia.
Therefore the total membership will be twenty one.
Original Members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council
The tasks of the council are to:
- prioritize the Synod directives
- identify who will be responsible for implementation of each of the directives
- identify resources needed
- gather and assess ideas for a directive from the synod working group papers and other sources
- provide the means for communication between those responsible and the pastoral council
- develop an instrument for reporting to the pastoral council and the bishop the implementation of a directive
- establish a timeline for the directives and for review of the implementation of the outcomes
- discuss ways to assist parishes and deaneries in the implementation
Fr. Dan Hussey
Fr. Chris Kanowitz
Bishop Randolph Calvo
Fr. Robert Chorey ex-officio
Fr. Charles Durante ex-officio
The Time is NOW
The Time is Now is a program from the Diocesan Pastoral Council to assist parishes in their pastoral planning efforts. In the Spring of 2018, a series of talks were given in parishes throughout the diocese for parish leadership. The fruits of those talks can be found here.
Initiatives to Focus On
1. “Each parish will develop within one year an outreach and welcoming program both for people within the parish and outside the parish who are looking for support, love, and community.” (Mission Direction II, Outcome 1)
2. “Each parish will create an ongoing program for inviting non-Catholics and inactive Catholics to Mass and other events, to be initiated within one year.” (Community Direction II, Outcome 1)
3. “Based on its assessment of its cultural diversity, each parish within one year will develop a plan to address its cultural diversity, utilizing as a guide the principles, insights and recommendations in ‘Best Practices for Shared Parishes’ published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.” (Cultural Diversity Direction I, Outcome 2)
SUMMARY OF ABOVE INITIATIVES:
Each parish will develop within one year an outreach and welcoming program for all people. (Catholics; non-Catholics; people of different cultures; people who feel alienated because of marital status, sexual orientation, or who have special needs due to physical disabilities, age, mental challenges, or economic poverty. Basically, everyone.)
Four steps of successful planning
- Assessment — where you are
- Goal setting — what you want to accomplish
- Implementation — a format for accomplishing those things
- Evaluation — steps for evaluating success along the way
Use the SMART approach:
T Time Bound
Method of Discernment
As used in many church processes, such as our diocesan Synod as well as the Synods of Bishops in the Family and the V Encuentro, a method that is helpful is that of SEE, JUDGE, ACT. This threefold discernment can guide the process of developing the pastoral plan.
To “see” is to take account of the current situation by gathering information and asking some questions:
- Are all welcome in our churches and parishes? How do we know?
- Why would people feel alienated because of their marital status, sexual orientation, physical disability, age, mental challenges or economic poverty?
- Do we understand their situation and their relationship with the Church or the parish community or their desires for and fears about participating in the life of the Church?
- How do parish communities and the diocese respond to people with these particular circumstances?
- Do our parishes and the diocese respond to these groups of people in a way that makes them feel welcome to the Church?
- Do we, as Jesus did, seek out the lost, the sinner, the outcast, in this instance, the ones who feel alienated, distant from the community or not welcome or wanted?
- Are our doors open to them?
- Do we accompany them on the journey of faith?
- Do we have an awareness of them in our parish life or pastoral practice?
Upon reflecting on what we SEE and how we JUDGE the situation in the light of the Gospel, then we propose how we need to ACT. This then becomes the action of the pastoral plan.
If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life.
—Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, p. 49.
Source: Bishop Calvo
Owning the Mission
Revitalizing our Parish councils
The mission of the church belongs to and is the responsibility of all the baptized!
We exercise that responsibility in varied ways, and the Parish serves as the focal point where the baptized gather to be renewed and revitalized in mission.
The Parish Council serves as an important part of that mission and responsibility. Lay persons work with and advise the pastor on the pastoral ministry of the parish.
It is the Policy of the Diocese of Reno that each parish is to have a parish council.
- Members of the council are to be active members of the parish.
- The number of persons on the council is related to the size of the parish.
- It is up to the Pastor and the council to determine how new members are selected for the council.
- The term of office for most members should be more than one year, with staggered elections for the sake of membership continuity.
- Monthly meetings are recommended. Meetings should be conducted in an orderly fashion, using a modified form of Roberts Rule of Order.
- The pastoral council membership ceases upon appointment of a new Pastor, and the new Pastor is to reform the council within six months of his appointment
Moving Forward in Parish Councils
So that our parish councils continue to grow and develop, and the mission of the Church also grows and develops, the Diocesan Pastoral Council will be developing sessions at the Diocesan Annual Conference and workshops to follow.
The Mission of Pastoral Councils
Have you ever dreaded a parish council meeting? Truth be told, they can be boring. But how do you fix that? This workshop offers a strong understanding of the threefold mission of the parish pastoral council, which is a great start. In a consultative council, pastors invite councils to investigate a matter, reflect on it, and recommend their conclusions. Meetings take on new significance when council members embrace this role, striving to discern conclusions so wise and prudent that the pastor implements them.
The Spirituality of Pastoral Councils
The bishop has entrusted the parish to the pastor. The pastor wants to be a Good Shepherd, bringing his flock to green pastures and flowing waters. But what is the council’s role in fulfilling the mission of the church? It is up to them to offer good advice to their pastor, helping him create a parish that is a place of encounter with God. This workshop discusses Christian spirituality as the way we assimilate the mission of Christ as Church members responding to God’s word.
In January 2020, Dr. Mark Fischer from St. John's Seminary will come to the annual Diocesan Conference to give two sessions on making a parish council pastoral. All parish council members from every parish and their pastors are strongly encouraged to register for the conference and attend these sessions.
Dr. Fischer is a professor of Theology and has written about parish councils