The Philadelphia Archdiocese has released its schedule of listening sessions as part of the universal church’s Synod on Synodality.

The 18 in-person gatherings, several of which will be conducted in Spanish, are set to take place on the weekends of March 19-20 and April 2-3 at designated parishes throughout the five-county area.

Facilitators trained by Malvern-based Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI) will lead the two-hour sessions as follows:

(See the complete schedule plus registration links for each session on the archdiocesan web page, ArchPhila.org/synod, and see Register for a Listening Session.)

March 19

9 – 11 a.m.: St. Bede the Venerable Parish (1071 Holland Road, Holland, Bucks County); St. Pius X Parish (220 Lawrence Road, Broomall, Delaware County)

2 – 4 p.m.: St. Martin of Tours Parish (in Spanish; Roosevelt Blvd. and Cheltenham Avenue, Philadelphia); Our Lady of Calvary Parish (11024 Knights Road, Philadelphia)

5 – 7 p.m.: St. Rocco Parish (in Spanish; 333 Sunny Dell Road, Avondale, Chester County)

March 20

2 – 4 p.m.: St. Peter Parish (2835 Manor Road, West Brandywine, Chester County); Holy Innocents Parish (in Spanish; 1337 East Hunting Park Avenue, Philadelphia); St. Edmond Parish (2130 South 21st Street, Philadelphia)

5 – 7 p.m.: Mother of Divine Providence Parish (333 Allendale Road, King of Prussia, Montgomery County); St. Thomas Aquinas Parish (in Spanish; 17th and Morris Streets, Philadelphia)

April 2

9 – 11 a.m.: St. Cornelius Parish (160 Ridge Road, Chadds Ford); St. Malachy Parish (1429 North 11th Street, Philadelphia)

2 – 4 p.m.: Queen of the Universe Parish (in Spanish; 2443 Trenton Road, Levittown, Bucks County); Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish (5194 Cold Spring Creamery Road, Doylestown, Bucks County)

April 3

1 – 3 p.m.: St. Patrick Parish (131 Channing Avenue, Malvern, Chester County); Villanova University, Connelly Center (young adult session; 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova)

5 – 7 p.m.: Mary, Mother of the Redeemer Parish (1325 Upper State Road, North Wales, Montgomery County); St. Patrick Parish (in Spanish; DeKalb and Chestnut Streets, Norristown, Montgomery County)

In addition to the in-person meetings, 10 online gatherings will be held March 21-31, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Virtual synodal sessions for the general public will be held on each of those days, plus a session for young professionals on March 21, a session for college-aged individuals on March 22 and sessions in Spanish on March 23 and 29.

See this page for to register for an in-person or virtual session.

Through an electronic module still under development, individuals will soon be able to contribute to the consultation remotely through the archdiocesan synod webpage, where an array of synod resources for parishes and individuals – including a video message from Archbishop Nelson Pérez – can be found.

Plans for the listening sessions were announced initially in a Feb. 4 letter from Msgr. Brian Hennessy, pastor of St. Alphonsus Parish in Maple Glen and coordinator for the archdiocesan phase of the synod.

Msgr. Hennessy said the gatherings, the results of which will be compiled into a report in June, are intended “to offer as many of the faithful as possible with multiple opportunities to participate and be heard.”

In tandem with archdiocesan synodal activities, CLI will also implement its “Called for More” initiative to survey pastoral engagement among archdiocesan clergy, parish leaders and parishioners.

The process of listening to the voices of the faithful — and particularly those on the margins of society and the church — is part of the preparation for the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican in October 2023.

The two-year synod process was launched by Pope Francis in October 2021, with the theme of “communion, participation and mission.”

The word “synod” itself derives from the Greek for “with” and “path,” signifying a way in which “the people of God walk together,” according to a 2018 document by the International Theological Commission.

Throughout the church’s history, the term has been applied to a variety of assemblies convened from the diocesan to the universal levels, with the apostolic Council of Jerusalem (found in Acts 15 and Gal 2:1-10) regarded as a paradigm for synods.

In 1965, Pope Paul VI instituted the Synod of Bishops as a permanent council “to offer more effective assistance to the supreme Shepherd” of the church.

Noting that the archdiocese had completed its own synodal process some two decades ago, CatholicPhilly.com editor Matthew Gambino recently wrote the main purpose of the latest initiative is not to create final reports and strategic plans.

“The journey is the point, not the destination,” he said. “A synod should lead a church community to learn how to listen – to one another, and to the voice of the Holy Spirit moving in our lives. And listening should become a permanent feature of the church.”

***

Archbishop Nelson Perez invites you to participate in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s local participation in the Synod on Synodality: