Synod: We Need to Hear From You!

March 2014

Letter from Bishop Caggiano:

On February 22, 2014, I officially convoked the Fourth Diocesan Synod that will take place between September 19, 2014 and September 19, 2015.  This is a very exciting time for all of us in the diocese.  We come together to discuss the future of the Church in Fairfield County and to plan accordingly.  Many of us have various opinions, observations and best practices we would like to share with others so the diocese may benefit from our advice.

Now is the moment!
In the following months (March–June) the Diocesan Synod Office will collect your input: opinions, comments, observations and best practices.  There are a couple of ways to do so:

A.    Online:
Just days ago we have opened a special synodal website, www.2014synod.org, where you can find the latest information about the Diocesan Synod, including the calendar of events and media connections.   The site will grow and be updated regularly, so please check it often.  On this website you will also find a form where you can submit your comments.  The form is called “Synod Input Form G” and you can find it at: www. 2014synod.org/FormG.  The first page of the form asks for your name and the parish, school or institution you will be writing about.  These fields are mandatory, as we cannot accept anonymous submissions.  Further, the form has two sections with three questions each.  The first section pertains to your specific parish, school or other diocesan institution that you would like to comment about.  Here are the questions in this section:

  1. What are the strengths of your parish/school/institution?
  2. What areas of outreach and ministries in your parish/school/institution would you like to see expanded in the future?
  3. What can your parish/school/institution do to improve its outreach and ministries?

The second section of the form pertains to the Diocese of Bridgeport as a whole.  The three questions here are similar to the previous section:

  1. What are the strengths of our diocese?
  2. What areas of outreach and ministries in our diocese would you like to see expanded in the future?
  3. What can our diocese do to improve its outreach and ministries?

Since some may require a bit more time to fill out the form, the online version has an option to save your work in progress for 7 days.   Click “Save” link on the bottom of the form and follow the instructions.   The form will be available until June 15, 2014.  However, the Diocesan Synod Office would appreciate if you could please fill it out as soon as possible.  Next month, the form will be available in other languages: Spanish, Portuguese-Brazilian, Polish, Creole and Vietnamese.

B.    Paper Version:
Recognizing that not everyone may have access to the online form, we are prepared to receive your input via regular mail.  Kindly answer the above questions (preferably in typed form) and mail your answers to:

Diocesan Synod Office – Input Form G
The Catholic Center
238 Jewett Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06606

Please make sure you include your name, address, parish (school or institution) and town.  Regretfully, the anonymous form submissions will not be accepted.

C.    Listening Sessions:
In addition to the form described above, you are invited to participate in the Listening  Sessions with Bishop Caggiano.  There will be one session per each Vicariate in the diocese, as well as sessions for Youth and the Hispanic Community.  Here is the schedule of these sessions:

Monday – May 5 at 7:30 PM / Vicariate I  – Trinity High School, Stamford 
Friday – May 16 at 7:30 PM / Vicariate II  – St. Aloysius, New Canaan (School Gym)
Saturday – May 17 at 1:30 PM / Youth Listening Session Notre Dame High School, Fairfield
Monday – June 2 at 7:30 PM / Vicariate III  – St. Thomas, Fairfield
Sunday – June 8 at 5:00 PM / Hispanic Community The Catholic Center (Queen of Saints Hall)
Tuesday – June 17 at 7:30 PM / Vicariate IV  – St. Catherine, Trumbull (Family Center)
Saturday – June 21 at 1:00 PM / Vicariate V  – Immaculate High School, Danbury

To find which Vicariate your parish is in, Click HERE

These sessions are open to the public and will run for about two hours each.   Since we expect a good attendance, we have devised a method of participation that will allow most attendees to contribute to the discussion.  Namely, the questions will pertain only to the Diocese of Bridgeport and will be in the form of “fill the blank” to allow as many as possible to present their summaries publically in a few words.  Everyone who speaks will be required to submit their full comments online via Input Form LS (http://dob2014synod.wpengine.com/FormLS).  Here are the questions for the Listening Sessions:

  1. The strengths of the diocesan ministries are…
  2. I would like to see the new diocesan outreach in…
  3. The diocese should improve the ministry by…

Certainly, some may wish to supplement their input to the discussion.  Hence, they are welcome to use the open-ended form described above.

D.    Local Consultation and Process
In additional to the online form and the Listening Sessions, the Diocesan Synod Office will send out consultation forms to the pastors, principals and others leaders in the diocese asking them to conduct local consultation with their respective leaders in order to submit findings for review.  The Synod Office will contact them directly.

Next Steps…
After collecting all the input from the Faithful of the Diocese, the Synod Office will group the topics, suggestions and observations thematically.  These will be presented to the bishop who will choose from them the themes for the Synod’s General Sessions.  He will also announce them at the Solemn Vespers in the Cathedral on June 29, 2014 at 7:00 PM.  Afterwards, Synod Study Commissions specially appointed by the bishop will analyze collected data and present the findings to the Synod Delegates in preparation for the General Sessions.  In addition, a special report describing the input process results will be published on the synodal website (www.2014synod.org).

The Diocesan Synod is an important event in the life of the local Church.  Its success depends in large on the participation of many in the process.  Hope, you will contribute to the process and find it refreshing and satisfying.