Archdiocesan Synod Process Delayed
Updated May 7, 2020
Despite the great momentum for the Synod and the participation of more than 8,000 people in pre-Synod Prayer and Listening Events, the COVID-19 pandemic is requiring the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to alter the Synod schedule. To keep our focus on parishes and schools without any distraction, Archbishop Bernard Hebda announced that he has decided to delay by one year the Parish Consultation with Small Groups stage of the Synod. While the Deanery Consultation planned for a Saturday in January or February 2021 will still be held at that time, the more intensive Parish Consultation process, originally planned for fall 2020, will now occur in fall 2021. The Synod Assembly originally scheduled for Pentecost 2021 has been moved to spring 2022.
Based on the information already gathered in the Prayer and Listening Events, as well as the information gathered for the Ad Limina visit with Pope Francis in January, and the results of the Disciple Marker Index, Archbishop Hebda will announce the initial set of focus areas in late June. Those areas will set the parameters for discussions at the deanery and parish levels. The Catholic Spirit will have extensive coverage of the focus areas and more details about the Synod process as it moves forward.
Read Archbishop Hebda’s reflections on the pre-Synod journey to date, as well as a look ahead, in The Catholic Spirit.
About the Archdiocesan Synod
At Pentecost in 2019 (June 8 – 9), the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis began a Synod process. The goal of the Archdiocesan Synod is to help Archbishop Hebda discern, through a consultative process, the pastoral priorities of our local Church today – and into the near future.
Your participation, as the Catholic faithful, is key to a successful Synod. You are invited to participate by offering your prayers, pastoral concerns, and ideas for moving this Archdiocese forward.
Questions? Comments? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you – or someone you know – experiencing difficulties in your faith or with the Church? View this special invitation from Archbishop Hebda.
Pray for the Archdiocesan Synod
Schoolchildren from Immaculate Conception School in Columbia Heights show us how to continue praying for the Archdiocesan Synod.
Prayer for Year of Pre-Synod Prayer & Listening
Come Holy Spirit
Make our ears to hear
Make our eyes to see
Make our mouths to speak
Make our hearts to seek
Make our hands to reach out
And touch the world with your love.
Mary, Mother of the Church,
Pray for us.
Come Holy Spirit (Pre-Synod Song)
Listen to “Come Holy Spirit” (Pre-Synod Song) by Father Michael Joncas.
Synod Universal Prayer Intercessions (Monthly Intentions)
September 2019: Listening
That through prayer and mutual listening, we will together discern the movements of the Holy Spirit guiding the Archdiocesan Synod, and be led to a more vigorous proclamation of Jesus’ good news, we pray to the Lord.
October 2019: Healing/ Marian Month of the Rosary
That the Archdiocesan Synod process, through the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary, will bring healing and hope, and promote unity throughout our Archdiocese, we pray to the Lord.
November 2019: Unity / All Saints
That aided by the Communion of Saints—those celebrated by the Church and those known only to God—our Archdiocese through the Synod process will grow in holiness and be inspired to see our lives more clearly as a gift for others, we pray to the Lord.
December 2019: Hope
That the coming of the Messiah will enlighten the Archdiocesan Synod to recognize His Spirit at work in, and bring hope to, those the world often overlooks: the elderly, single people, immigrants, the homeless, and the unborn, we pray to the Lord.
January 2020: Encountering Jesus in others / Epiphany
That encountering our immigrant brothers and sisters in the Archdiocesan Synod Process would inspire in us greater solidarity and humanness, and spur us to offer our lives as a gift for others, we pray to the Lord.
February 2020: Sanctity of Marriage / Devotion to the Holy Family
That participation in the Archdiocesan Synod process will help families communicate more honestly and charitably with each other and strengthen the domestic church, we pray to the Lord.
March 2020: Vocations / Devotion to St. Joseph
That Saint Joseph, who nourished the vocations of the Blessed Mother and her divine Son, would protect and direct those who, as a result of the Archdiocesan Synod process, have begun to discern a vocation to the priesthood, diaconate, or religious life, we pray to the Lord.
April 2020: Encountering Jesus in the Church and the Sacraments
That our encounter with Jesus Christ in the Easter Sacraments will lead us to welcome his presence in members of the Church during our Archdiocesan Synod process.
May 2020: Humility & Obedience / Blessed Mother
That our Blessed Mother’s humble obedience to the Holy Spirit will inspire the same in all the laity and clergy of our Archdiocese during this Synod process.
Synod Prayer Journal
Synod Prayer Journal, May 2020: PDF, Microsoft Word
Synod Prayer Journal, April 2020: PDF, Microsoft Word
Synod Prayer Journal, March 2020: PDF, Microsoft Word
Synod Prayer Journal, February 2020: PDF, Microsoft Word
An Introduction to the Synod Prayer Journal
Dear Friend in Christ,
Thank you for joining with us in prayer during this monumental time for our Archdiocese. We are so grateful for you! During the next two years we will worship and pray together, listen to God together and converse with one another. Our hope for this time is to discern what God desires for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. But we also hope that this discernment process will personally draw us more deeply into the love of the Lord and help us to grow in love for one another. To do this we begin with prayer.
This prayer journal is a guide for our journey. It is designed to lead us in discernment for our local Church while also providing an opportunity for each individual to learn and grow. It also will connect us to the greater Catholic Church as the Scripture passages will be largely taken from the daily Mass readings for the liturgical calendar.
As we begin, we turn to Saint Paul, who so beautifully expresses gratitude and prayer for you and for our local Church:
Therefore, I too, hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus and of your love for all the holy ones, do not cease in giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might… (Ephesians 1:15-19)
May God bless you and our Archdiocese,
The Team for the 2021 Synod
Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
An Introduction to the Archdiocesan Synod
Video Introduction to the Synod from Archbishop Hebda
Message from Archbishop Hebda: Moving Forward Together
At this year’s Vigil of Pentecost, I will be formally announcing that our archdiocese will be embarking on a synod, our first since 1939. A synod is a formal representative assembly designed to help a bishop in his shepherding of the local Church. It is my hope that the process outlined in these pages, involving every parish in our archdiocese, will help us over the next two years to draw on the gifts that have bestowed in such abundance on the faithful of this archdiocese to discern and establish clear pastoral priorities in a way that will both promote greater unity and lead us to a more vigorous proclamation of Jesus’ good news.
When St. John Paul II promulgated the new Code of Canon Law in 1983, he recognized that the laws of the Church needed to take into consideration the “new way of thinking” that had emerged from the Second Vatican Council. In particular, he identified a need for new canonical structures to reflect the conciliar teaching that presented the Church as the “People of God” and as a “communion,” as well as the doctrine by which “all members of the People of God share, in a manner proper to each of them, in the threefold priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ.”
One of the structures that took on a new prominence in that purposeful revision of the Code was the diocesan synod, a traditional structure for consultation and governance in the Church. The notion of the Synod was broadened and reconfigured precisely to serve as a tool for the bishop to engage the People of God (laity, clergy, consecrated men and women, and bishops all walking together) in exercising the responsibility that flows from our common baptism, always in the hope of strengthening the communion that is the Church. Since the reboot of this ancient structure, diocesan synods have consistently served as important instruments in effecting conciliar renewal within the local Church.
In the time that I have served in this archdiocese, I have come to believe that our local Church is particularly ripe for a synod. After the listening sessions that were held in 2015 when I was still serving as the temporary administrator, I drew up suggestions for the next archbishop, never thinking it would be me. At the top of that list was the convoking of an archdiocesan synod. We are blessed here with a particularly well-educated and articulate laity with a strong tradition of service to the Church, who along with their clergy and consecrated brothers and sisters, want to be involved in shaping her future, seeing that appropriately as both their right and their responsibility.
After the pastoral pause necessitated by the bankruptcy and related issues, I have sensed that many of you seem to be ready to roll up your sleeves to address some of the pastoral needs that had been placed on the back burner. The enthusiasm surrounding the new Lay Advisory Board would seem to confirm that. Without losing sight of either the critical importance of our Catholic schools or the urgency of creating safe environments and engaging in outreach to those who have in any way been harmed by the Church, we now need to be deliberate in moving forward on other fronts.
It is in that context that I have been hearing Pope Francis’ repeated articulation of the need for us to be a “listening Church.” While stressing that “discernment is a gift of the Spirit to the Church, to which she responds with listening,” he has concretely modeled for us how a more intentional “listening” might work in discerning and establishing pastoral priorities. In the six years of his pontificate, he has held three synods, plus the recent global summit, and at each of them he has opened wide the process of consultation and encouraged even difficult discussion.
The Holy Father has emphasized that he is not talking about listening that is merely “pro forma,” but rather a sincere and respectful “mutual listening” in which everyone has something to learn. Moreover, it is not just listening to one another but to the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth” (Jn 14:17), to know what the Spirit “is saying to the Churches” (Rev 2:7).
The pre-synod process that we will be using over the next year has been designed to help us as a local Church to listen to each other and to the Holy Spirit. It reflects not only the excellent organizational work of the executive team headed by Bishop Andrew Cozzens, Therese Coons and Father Joseph Bambenek, but also the insights of a prayer team who have been meeting for the last seven months and supporting this effort in their daily prayer. They have wisely made sure that the 31 regional or focused listening opportunities that will shape our future discussion and deliberations will all be grounded in prayer and in God’s Word. As Pope Francis has noted: “Only in the silence of prayer can one learn the voice of God, perceive the traces of his language [and] have access to his truth.”
I am hoping, brothers and sisters, that you will be active participants in this process. Please keep your eye on your parish bulletin, The Catholic Spirit and this Synod webpage, to see how and when you can become involved. The synod will bear fruit only if you, God’s people, are willing to share what is on your heart and what is in your prayer. In the meantime, I would be particularly grateful for your prayers this Pentecost for me and for all those who will be involved in this critical undertaking. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful. Enkindle in us the fire of your love.
More About the Archdiocesan Synod
What is a Synod? What is the purpose?
- “A Synod is a formal representative assembly designed to help a bishop in his shepherding of the local Church.” (*)
- The purpose is “to discern and establish clear pastoral priorities in a way that will both promote greater unity and lead us to a more vigorous proclamation of Jesus’ good news.”
What is a Listening Church?
- The pre-Synod process has been designed to engage in a ”sincere and respectful ‘mutual listening’ in which everyone has something to learn.”
- “Moreover, it is not just listening to one another but to the Holy Spirit, the ‘Spirit of Truth’ (Jn 14:17), to know what the Spirit is ‘saying to the Churches’ (Rev. 2:7).”
How will the Synod work? What is the process?
- The Archdiocesan Synod Assembly will be held either Divine Mercy Weekend, April 2022 or Pentecost weekend, May 2022.
- The pre-Synod process will occur over the next three years, and will engage the People of God – laity, clergy, consecrated men and women, and bishops – all walking together.
What is a Prayer and Listening Event?
- Participants will gather together to pray, discuss, and give feedback on what is working well now in their parish and this Archdiocese, and what are the challenges and opportunities as we move forward together.
- Everyone is invited to attend an event. All participants are encouraged to give written feedback that will be read and considered.
- Archbishop Bernard Hebda is scheduled to attend all events to pray and to participate in the listening process.
How can I participate in the Synod?
- Please pray for the Synod and our Archdiocese!
— Pray the pre-Synod year prayer and the monthly prayer intention.
— Offer a monthly holy hour or a Rosary.
— Pray with the Synod prayer journal.
- Year 1 (2019-2020): Attend one of the Prayer and Listening Events and give your feedback.
- Year 3 (Fall 2021): Join a parish small group.
(*) Quotes from Archbishop Hebda’s June 6 column in The Catholic Spirit. Find the full column here.
What is the Synod process?
Year 1 (2019-2020): Prayer and Listening Events
- Over 8,000 people participated 19 general prayer and listening events and 11 focus sessions, providing over 35,000 comments.
- Purpose: To identify an initial set of focus areas to discuss during Year 2.
Year 2 (2020-2021):
- Focus Areas Announced: May 2020
Based on information gathered from Prayer and Listening Events, focus sessions, the Ad Limina visit, and the Disciple Maker Index, Archbishop Hebda announces focus areas for the Archdiocesan Synod Assembly.
- Deanery Consultation Process: January and February, 2021
Pastors and an estimated 10 parish representatives gather at the Deanery (regional) level to pray, study and discuss the proposed Synod topics. Deaneries provide feedback for the Archdiocesan Synod Assembly. That feedback will also inform the Parish Consultation Process.
Year 3 (2021-2022):
- Parish Consultation Process: Fall 2021
Small groups meet in parishes across the Archdiocese to pray, study, and discuss the focus areas arising during Year 1. Parishes provide feedback for the Archdiocesan Synod Assembly.
- Archdiocesan Synod Assembly: Divine Mercy weekend, April 2022 or Pentecost weekend, May 2022
Approximately 500 invited delegates (including two from each parish) from across the Archdiocese gather together to pray, study, and discuss the Synod topics and vote on pastoral priorities to recommend to Archbishop Hebda.
- Pastoral Letter: November 2022, Feast of Christ the King
Considering the Synod results, Archbishop Hebda writes a pastoral letter intended to lead to an Archdiocesan pastoral plan to move our Archdiocese into the future.
Please continue to pray for Archbishop Hebda, clergy, religious, and all of the faithful of the Archdiocese as we together embark on this journey, guided by the Holy Spirit.
Meet the Executive Committee
Therese Coons is an accountant and attorney who is a member of the board of trustees of The Saint Paul Seminary in St. Paul. She is a member of St. Anne in Hamel. She is director of the archdiocesan synod.
Yen Fasano is a parishioner of St. Anne-St. Joseph Hien in Minneapolis. She serves on the executive board of the Catholic Services Appeal Foundation and on the board of directors for the Aim Higher Foundation. A Catholic speaker, she has dedicated two decades to teaching in schools and parishes. She and her husband, Frank, have three children.
Jill Fink is the director of discipleship and formation for St. Odilia in Shoreview. She and her husband, David, have three children.
Debbie Keller is a longtime parishioner of St. Pius X in White Bear Lake. She recently completed a two-year term as president of the board of directors for the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women. Debbie and her husband, John, have five grown children.
Chris Kostelc is the director of faith formation at Holy Name of Jesus in Medina, where he and his wife, Liz, and their three children are also parishioners. Kostelc is also a speaker and retreat leader.
Pat Millea is the senior high youth director at St. Joseph in West St. Paul, which is also his family’s home parish. He also ministers as a speaker and musician. Millea and his wife, Kenna, have six children.
Sheryl Moran came into the Catholic Church in 1988 and is a member of Our Lady of Grace in Edina. She and her husband, Dan, have two adult children and the two of them have volunteered for various Catholic organizations in the archdiocese. Moran has recently been involved in evangelism initiatives at the parish and archdiocesan levels.
Teresa Edali Mendez Ortega is a member of St. Gabriel the Archangel in Hopkins, where she is coordinator of Latino ministry and Spanish-language faith formation programs. She was part of the regional and diocesan team of the V Encuentro. She and her husband, Jose, have six children.
Patricio Pena is the director of Latino ministry at Assumption in Richfield and has worked for 19 years in Latino ministry in the archdiocese. He was part of the diocesan team of the V Encuentro. He and his wife, Maria Enriqueta, have four children.
Patti Watkins is the director of faith formation at St. Ambrose in Woodbury, where she and her husband are also parishioners. She has served as a faith formation leader in the archdiocese and the Diocese of New Ulm for 29 years.
Executive Committee: Archdiocesan Staff Members
Father Joseph Bambenek joined the Archdiocesan Catholic Center staff as assistant director of the archdiocesan synod July 1, 2019. He also assists the Parish Services Team with parish planning. Prior to this role, he served as pastor of St. Pius X and chaplain of Frassati Catholic Academy, both in White Bear Lake, and also the dean of Deanery 1. A Hastings native, Father Bambenek was ordained in 2010 after working strategic planning with electric utility companies in Michigan.
Bishop Andrew Cozzens was ordained a priest of the archdiocese in 1997 and then ordained a bishop in 2013. As an auxiliary bishop, he assists the archbishop in leading the archdiocese. He is the executive committee chairman.
Crystal Crocker is director of the archdiocesan Office of Evangelization and is a parishioner of St. Peter in Mendota. She and her husband, Tracy, have four children and three grandchildren.
Tom Halden joined the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in May 2015 as director of communications. Halden, his wife and their four children attend Mary, Mother of the Church in Burnsville.
Father Paul Kubista, ordained in 2010, joined the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in July 2019 as assistant to the Archdiocesan Synod. He is also serving as priest chaplain at Regina Senior Living and Hospital in Hastings and saying the extraordinary form of the Mass at St. Joseph in Miesville. Prior to entering seminary, having a MSEE degree, he worked at IBM and led the Playstation 3 processor IO verification team.
Deacon Steve Maier is the director of parish services for the archdiocese. Ordained in 2009, Deacon Maier is retired from 32 years at Target Corporation in Minneapolis. He is a member of St. Joseph in West St. Paul and ministers at St. Francis de Sales in St. Paul.
Estela Villagrán Manancero is director of the archdiocesan Office of Latino Ministry. She is the president of the national Association of Diocesan Directors of Hispanic Ministry and a consultant for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Hispanic affairs. She held local, regional and national roles in the recent V Encuentro for Latino Catholics in the U.S. She is a member of St. Alphonsus in Brooklyn Center.
Father Thomas Margevičius is director of the archdiocesan Office of Worship. He is also a professor of liturgy and homiletics at The St. Paul Seminary, where he is also the director of liturgy and a formation director for several seminarians. Before his 1999 ordination, he served with NET Ministries and St. Paul’s Outreach.
Jean Stolpestad is director of the archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Life. She and her family attend St. Henry in Monticello.
Amy Tadlock, a Chicago-area native, is a judge in the Metropolitan Tribunal. Prior to moving to Minnesota, she worked as a director of youth ministry in a suburban Chicago parish and pursued graduate studies in Washington, D.C. She has a master’s degree in theology from the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family and a licentiate in canon law from The Catholic University of America. She also is an adjunct professor at The St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul.