This Pentecost (June 8 – 9, 2019), 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.

Message from Archbishop Hebda: Moving Forward Together

View the message in Spanish and Vietnamese.

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.

Prayer and Listening Events

Dates and Locations

View a map of approximate event locations, by number.

1. Tuesday, September 24

6 – 9 p.m.

St. Victoria, St. Victoria

 

2. Saturday, September 28

9 a.m. – noon

St. Michael, St. Michael

 

3. Friday, October 11

6 – 9 p.m.

Guardian Angels, Oakdale

 

4. Saturday, Oct. 12

9 a.m. – noon

Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Paul

Bilingual (English and Spanish)

 

5. Saturday, October 26

9 a.m. – noon

St. Peter, Forest Lake

 

6. Tuesday, October 29

6 – 9 p.m.

Divine Mercy, Faribault

 

7. Thursday, November 7

6 – 9 p.m.

St. Wenceslaus, New Prague

 

8. Friday, November 15

6 – 9 p.m.

All Saints, Lakeville

 

9. Sunday, November 17

1 – 4 p.m.

St Anne – St Joseph Hien, Minneapolis

Bilingual (English and Vietnamese)

 

10. Sunday, January 5

1 – 4 p.m.

Holy Cross, Minneapolis

 

11. Saturday, January 25

9 a.m. – noon

St. Peter Claver, St. Paul

 

12. Tuesday, January 28

6 – 9 p.m.

Pax Christi, Eden Prairie

 

13. Saturday, February 1

9 a.m. – noon

St. Stephen, Minneapolis

Bilingual (English and Spanish)

 

14. Tuesday, February 11

6 – 9 p.m.

Providence Academy, Plymouth

 

15. Saturday, February 15

9 a.m. – noon

Lumen Christi, St. Paul

 

16. Tuesday, February 18

6 – 9 p.m.

St. Stephen, Anoka

 

17. Thursday, February 27

6 – 9 p.m.

Our Lady of Grace, Edina

 

18. Saturday, February 29

9 a.m. – noon

St. Pius V, Cannon Falls

 

19. Saturday, March 7

9 a.m. – noon

Transfiguration, Oakdale

 

20. Saturday, March 14

9 a.m. – noon

St. Alphonsus, Brooklyn Center

Bilingual (English and Spanish)

Fourteen other listening events will be held for particular focus groups: priests, retired priests, deacons, consecrated religious, archdiocesan staff, parish staff, Catholic school principals, youth, college students, the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, and seniors at various retirement and assisted-living facilities.

About the Archdiocesan Synod

What is a Synod?

A Synod is a canonical (Church) process of consultation to help a bishop focus on the needs of the community. As it is a consultative process and not a single event, all are encouraged to participate in some way. In fact, Canon 212 states the faithful “have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church.” Now is that time.

What will our Synod look like? How long will it take?

The Archdiocesan Synod process is expected to last two-and-a-half years and will have four distinct parts.

  1. Fall 2019 – Late Winter 2020: Prayer and Listening Events. Prayer and Listening events, hosted throughout the Archdiocese, will provide the broadest opportunity for input from all Catholics. These events will be part prayer and catechesis, and part listening session. They are opportunities to discern together the pastoral concerns that may become topics of discussion (pastoral priorities) for the Synod.
  2. Fall 2020: Parish Consultation Process. Each parish in the Archdiocese will be invited to discuss Synod topics in small group settings, in which parishioners are invited to participate.
  3. Winter/Spring 2021: Deanery Consultations. Input gathered from the parish small groups will inform a deanery consultation process. Each parish in the Archdiocese is part of a deanery based on geographic area (see details). During this process, representatives from parishes will gather as a deanery to discuss further and discern Synod topics.
  4. Approx. Pentecost 2021 (May 23) – Synod Assembly. The Synod Assembly is a multi-day event where representative clergy, religious and laity come together to assist the Archbishop in determining the pastoral priorities of the Archdiocese.

For updated information on the Synod process, check back regularly and continue to read The Catholic Spirit. Questions/feedback? Email synod@archspm.org.

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.

Therese Coons

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.

Yen Fasano

Jill Fink is the director of faith formation for Epiphany in Coon Rapids. She and her husband, David, have three children.

Jill Fink

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.

Debbie Keller

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.

Chris Kostelc

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.

Pat Millea

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.

Sheryl Moran

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.

Teresa Edali Mendez Ortega

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.

Patricio Pena

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.

Patti Watkins

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.

Father Joseph Bambenek

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.

Bishop Andrew Cozzens

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.

Crystal Crocker

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.

Tom Halden

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.

Deacon Steve Maier

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.

Estela Villagrán Manancero

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.

Father Thomas Margevičius

Jean Stolpestad is director of the archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Life. She and her family attend St. Henry in Monticello.

Jean Stolpestad

Amy Tadlock, a Chicago-area native, is the director of the archdiocese’s 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.

Amy Tadlock

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