Synod on Synodality

Synod on Synodality, Diocese of Erie

Master Summary of Listening Sessions submitted to Diocese


  1. Name and City of Parish – OLP Erie
  2. Name of Synod Facilitator Filling out Form – Gina Adams & Joe Bell
  3. E-mail address of person filling out form
  4. Total # of listening session participants – 104


What questions did you ask in your listening sessions?

    Questions provided in the facilitators guide.

    What broad themes emerged? Consider things that were discussed repeatedly, during which the conversation felt moved by the Holy Spirit.

      -Need for more community and fellowship. Desire to have a better gathering space attached to the church so we can create more opportunities.

      -Despite a desire to be together, many young families do not have the time to do so; either by obligation or because of different priorities

      -There is a small passionate group that does a lot of the work at the parish. Simultaneously those same people are open to new people helping out, and new people want to help out, but there seems to be a lack of understanding of how to make that happen.

      -Need to go deeper spiritually

      -Need to understand better how to evangelize and how to talk about our faith. Many people do not feel confident enough to discuss matters of faith.

      -Need to understand better why we do what we do

      -Concern about people that are not coming back and how we get them back

      -Divorced and homosexuals feel judged and unwelcomed

      -Need for more communication on what parish committees are deciding and working on. There are a lot of people who do not understand what goes on in the parish even if those things have been published in the bulletin.

      -How to combat the influence of technology and social media

      -Need for more opportunities to freely express and share thoughts and discuss challenging topics. Loved this opportunity.

      -Fear of speaking out due to fear of being judged or humiliated for sharing thoughts

      -How to notice those in need that might be sitting right next to us

      -Need to respect people who don’t want to socialize or be involved

      -Felt more connected to community when they are in smaller groups

      -Need to feel more comfortable in inviting people. A personal invitation is key to getting people engaged.

      -OLP is a welcoming place and parishioners love the parish team – priests (parishioners feel they are spread too thin), youth director, music minister, etc. The summer picnic was mentioned as a parish favorite.

      What other themes came up that felt significant and Spirit-led when they were mentioned, even if they weren’t brought up frequently

        -Need to be aware of the nudges of the Holy Spirit

        -The lives of children today are too busy

        -Youth today are challenging our faith. Need to be prepared to guide them & be able to answer their questions.

        -Instead of focusing on those that are not in the pews focus on the ones that are and really “feed” them

        -One of the voices being ignored today is the Church itself. Folks are resistant to being open to learn more about their faith because they don’t think there is more to learn. Along with this the Church needs to do a better job catechizing.

        -Need to pray for those that are not in the pews. Needs to be more of a commitment to this.

        -Church needs to sincerely listen to what people need & follow up. Don’t present you are open when you are not. People see through this and it keeps them from coming.

        -Church is more supportive than people feel

        -Many years ago life was an extension of Mass and lived constantly. With everyone being so individualized we have moved away from community.

        -With fewer priest the laity have more responsibility for non-sacramental issues and we need to realize we are called to this.

        -Need to be aware of the non-Catholics that come to our parish and how uncomfortable they likely are. How do we make them feel more welcome?

        -The bulletin alone is not a sufficient resource for distributing information. It is not being read like it might have been in years past.

        -The political divide in America is felt at the parish level. This is not appropriate.

        What topics emerged that could benefit from additional prayerful discussion and listening in your community, and/or be deepened at a future listening session?

          -How to enhance and create awareness regarding Outreach opportunities & communication overall

          -How to better welcome divorced, homosexuals and other unconventional family settings without compromising the dogma of the Church. Feels there is hesitation to discuss and solve these issues.

          -Apologetics. How to better understand the Holy Spirit and the importance of him in our spirituality

          -How to reach people where they are at. Everyone has different needs and comfort levels and are at different places spiritually.

          -People are not coming to church because they don’t feel welcome they are not coming because of misconceptions they have about the church by only hearing what they want to hear.

          -Removing barriers to participation in parish life

          -Ministry to young families. Presenting homilies and mass structure that is more relatable and suitable for those with young children.

          -How to better connect the school and the church

          Were there any themes that were brought up consistently by a certain group? (i.e. High School students or homebound parishioners) If so mention those here.

            -High School Students and Young Adults want church to be more spiritual and less like school

            -High School students feel the negative pressure from peers when they want to participate in church activities but peers don’t want to or don’t take it as seriously as they do

            -High School students feel adults don’t value their thoughts and think they are always right rather than take the time to understand the youth side of things or where they are coming from.

            -High School students feel the pressure to just believe and not ask questions

            -Young adults want to go deeper spiritually – Need more Church. Would also like to see more opportunities for fellowship more consistently.

            -Adults want more community

            -Active parishioners have a strong desire to get more people to become active

            -Young adults that are passionate about their faith are often uncomfortable, or feel unprepared in, taking on leadership roles.

            -Less-than-active parishioners are not getting the information they need to become more active

            Quick Response – list up to 3 words or phrases that you would use to describe your listening sessions.

            1. Desired
            2. Passionate - Spirit led
            3. Community

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