by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas’ report for the Universal Church’s synod — or the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, as it’s properly called — has been finished.
But that doesn’t mean it’s “mission accomplished.”
Rather, it would be appropriate to recall British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s 1942 wartime remark: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
The archdiocese’s 10-page report, like those from other dioceses around the country, was prepared and submitted to the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops and incorporated into the report from the United States.
The various national reports are being used to create an agenda and preparatory materials for two sessions of the Synod of Bishops Oct. 4-29, 2023, and in October 2024, in Rome.
On Oct. 10, 2021, Pope Francis called on all Catholics to participate in a worldwide consultation. The consultative process took place Jan. 10-March 25 in the archdiocese. There was a May 1 deadline for submitting responses.
“Pastors and leaders of religious communities and diocesan entities were all sent an invitation to participate in the synod by facilitating group meetings or convening consultative bodies to discuss and answer a set of questions included with the invitation,” said Father John Riley, archdiocesan vicar general and chancellor.
“Pastors and leaders were given discretion to decide whether they would participate and, if so, how they would gather the information needed to answer the questions. Parishes and entities uploaded their respective answers into a diocesan [online] portal.”
It is unknown how many people participated in the archdiocesan listening sessions or consultative bodies.
On the archdiocesan level, participants included the archdiocesan pastoral council, the envisioning team, consultative bodies and parish council members from throughout the archdiocese.
Priests, deacons and lay leaders led their parishes in the consultative process by gathering feedback from various groups in their parishes and schools, or by inviting representatives of these groups to respond to a questionnaire on behalf of their group or ministry.
“Pastors, leaders of religious communities and diocesan entities were given discretion to choose participants or select methods of information gathering that best suited their parish or organization,” said Father Riley.
“Some parishes provided an online questionnaire that parishioners could access through the parish website to provide input.”
Participants were guided by questions suggested by the General Secretariat of the Synod. Dioceses were allowed to tailor or edit the questions to best suit their diocese.
The archdiocesan synod consultation questions were grouped under 10 topics: listening, speaking out about our faith, divine worship, Christian mission, inclusion, participation, decision making, formation, dialogue in church and society and other communities of faith.
The results under each topic were organized under “Key Learnings” and “Key Insights.” Learnings were “more specific in nature,” while Insights are “broader in scope,” said Father Riley.
To read the archdiocesan synodal report, Catholics can go online to: archkck.org/synod.
“The Learnings and Insights will be published for all who are interested to see the results of the archdiocesan-wide consultation,” said Father Riley.
“Because they are made up of men and women of faith . . . the consultative bodies . . . may wish to review the results to assist them in advising pastors and the archbishop on ways in which to prayerfully consider how the Holy Spirit wishes to guide the church in her mission of drawing all souls to Christ for their salvation,” he said.
The U.S. National Synthesis for the world Synod of Bishops can be found online at: usccb.org/synod.