The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston announced today that it has submitted the Final Synthesis Report to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as part of the Holy Father’s Synod on Synodality.
The diocesan synod process began in October, 2021 with Mass celebrated by Bishop Mark Brennan at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, joining Pope Francis’ charge to have the faithful to call upon the Holy Spirit to enlighten them as they discern, listen, and discuss how the Church can grow more fruitful in unity. The Holy Father’s plans for the global Synod for a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission were released in September, 2021.
Ninety-two parish reports from across the diocese were given to the writing team in May of this year. As a model of transparency, the members of the team were not employees of the chancery, but members of the faithful in the diocese. They included Sister Carmella Campione, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph; Jacob Manning, parishioner of the Cathedral of St. Joseph; and Dr. Tom Michaud and Dr. Kim Michaud, parishioners of St. Michael Parish in Wheeling. After a thorough review, they compiled a 10-page synthesis reflecting the parish contributions expressed by the faithful across the diocese. A draft report was presented on June 3 to all parish coordinators, giving them the opportunity to provide input and suggest changes.
The writing team thanked the bishop for the opportunity to serve. Sister Carmella Campione added that the synthesis report submitted by the diocese, “records the voice of the people in our diocese, which echoes what we are learning are the same concerns in other dioceses across the country.”
Where does the report go from here? Locally, Bishop Brennan has stated that he will use the information contained in the parish reports to develop new ministries in the diocese as well as make concrete changes to strengthen the Church in West Virginia.
The USCCB will compile all input and feedback to formulate syntheses that reflect the vision of the faithful. The worldwide conferences will submit their summaries by Aug. 15, 2022. The continental phase will take place from September, 2022 to March, 2023. All of this information from around the world that began at the ground level in our parishes will ultimately be used by the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October of 2023. This Vatican council of bishops, selected from around the world, will counsel and consult the Pontiff on how the People of God with the Holy Spirit as their guide discerned the Church should journey together to carry out her mission and continue the work of Jesus Christ.