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January 17, 2017

For more information:
Marlene Mulford: Office:(217) 698-8500
Cell: (217) 622-4996
Email: mmulford@dio.org

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki Announces A Historic Fourth Diocesan Synod for 2017

SPRINGFIELD – Bishop Thomas John Paprocki has decreed for 2017 that the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois will celebrate its fourth diocesan synod. The previous diocesan synods were held in 1889, when the diocese was based in Alton. In 1953 and 1963 Synods were held in Springfield. It has been more than half a century since the previous diocesan synod.

A diocesan synod is a group of selected priests and other Chris­tian faithful of a par­ti­cular diocese which meets to offer assistance to the diocesan bishop for the good of the entire diocesan commu­nity. The word “synod” means “meeting” in Greek. A diocesan synod is a special type of meeting convoking a sizeable number of people who advise the diocesan bishop in setting the direction for the pastoral ministry of the parishes and other components of the diocese itself for the next several years.

The mandate that Bishop Paprocki has established for the diocesan synod is to consider how the diocese can make a communal commitment as a diocesan community of clergy and laity regarding discipleship and stewardship as a way of life. Specifically, this will include what it means as a diocese in terms of stewardship of time, talent and treasure. Closely related to this will be how community-wide support of Catholic education can be fostered so that more students will be able to attend Catholic schools. This involves understanding Catholic education as being the responsibility for everyone in each parish as a means to hand on the faith to the next generation of Catholics, not just the financial burden of parents to pay for their children’s education.

Thus, the theme of the Diocesan Synod will be: “A Call to Discipleship: Come and See.”

Bishop Paprocki said, “My main hope for our diocesan synod is that our clergy and laity together with me will make a heartfelt commitment to stewardship and discipleship as a way of life. We will need to overcome our doubts and fears in order to succeed in this endeavor. In the end, what makes this so important is that it is all about our future as Church,” he said.

The general timeline will start with an Opening Ceremony on Jan. 22, 2017. Throughout 2017, committees will draft the synodal directory, the questions for discussion and proposed synodal declarations, decrees and statutes. There will be listening sessions in the deaneries and parishes, as well as opportunities for people to offer feedback online through our diocesan website. The Solemn Closing of the Synod will take place on Nov. 26, 2017.

Specifically, the schedule for the various events associated with our fourth diocesan synod is as follows:

  • Sun., Jan. 22, 2 p.m. – Prayer Service for the Opening of the Preliminary Phase of the Diocesan Synod (at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 524 East Lawrence, Springfield)
  • Sun., Apr. 2, 2 p.m. – Diocesan Synod Deanery Prayer and Listening Sessions in each deanery with the Bishop connected by video conference to hear the needs, desires and opinions of the faithful regarding the proposed synodal topics
  • Tues., Apr. 11, 6:30 p.m. – Chrism Mass with Official Opening of the Diocesan Synod (at Cathedral)
  • Sat., May 20, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. – First Session of the Official Members of the Diocesan Synod (at Cathedral Atrium)
  • Sat., Aug. 12 – Gathering of Permanent Deacons for prayer and discussion regarding the Diocesan Synod (at Cathedral)
  • Mon., Sept. 18 to Thurs., Sept. 21 – Convocation of Priests for prayer and discussion regarding the Diocesan Synod (at Pere Marquette Lodge, Grafton, Illinois)
  • Sun., Sept. 24, 2 p.m. – Diocesan Synod Deanery Prayer and Listening Sessions in each Deanery with the Bishop connected by video conference to receive feedback on proposed synodal declarations and decrees
  • Sat., Nov. 18, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. – Final Session of the Official Members of the Diocesan Synod to vote on synodal declarations, decrees and statutes
  • Sun., Nov. 26, 2 p.m. – Mass Closing the Diocesan Synod on the Solemnity of Christ the King (at Cathedral)

The Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is 129 parishes in 28 counties in central Illinois.