By Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – The Catholic community in the Diocese of Jackson is continuing Pope Francis’ call for the Synod on Synodality, a period of listening and dialogue to rejuvenate the church. After Bishop Joseph Kopacz opened the synod in October 2021, parishes across the diocese conducted listening sessions to hear from people who fill the pews and thoses who no longer feel connected to the church. From those sessions the Synod advisory council reviewed every submission from each parish that participated and identified core issues on the minds of those across the diocese.
On March 21at St. Francis Madison, at the first of ten regional synod listening sessions with Bishop Kopacz, Fran Lavelle, director of faith formation and chair of the Synod advisory council, reviewed the things that were heard in the Synod listening sessions. These included the need to create community outreach opportunities, both within the church and the larger community; a need for healing with regard to marriages, annulments, LGBTQ, racial and ethnic divisions and the sexual abuse scandal; a need for unity; a way to be inclusive of all cultures and diverse communities; increased formation and education of lay leaders; increased faith formation opportunities for adults; the need for more evangelization efforts; ways to reach the young church; among others.
“What we really want to do is focus on those areas that came up that we can address within the struture of the diocese,” said Lavelle.
During the regional sessions participants are asked to discern three core priorities and how these can be addressed at the local level, giving concrete examples of how the church can successfully address them. Lavelle asked all to “dream” as Pope Francis in his book, Let us Dream: The Path to a Better Future.
The remaining regional sessions include:
– Tuesday, March 29 at St. Jude Pearl (Spanish) from 6:30-8 p.m.
– Wednesday, March 30 at St. Mary Basilica Natchez (English) from 6-7:30 p.m.
– Thursday, March 31 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Greenwood (English) from 5:30-7 p.m.
– Thursday, March 31 at St. Francis Greenwood (Spanish) from 7:30-8:30 p.m.
– Monday, April 4 at St. Patrick Meridian (English) from 6-7:30 p.m.
–Tuesday, April 5 at St. James Tupelo (English) from 6-7 p.m.
– Tuesday, April 5 at St. James Tupelo (Spanish) from 7-8 p.m.
–Wednesday, April 6 at St. Mary Batesville (English) from 6-7:30 p.m.