4 WALKING IN FAITH
Walk with parishioners.
Continuously evaluate the needs of the faithful and respond to them.
Develop more engaging faith formation.
Better communicate the resources provided by the Church.
Most of the attendees of the listening sessions belonged to a parish and could identify the mission of the Church. However, almost all were concerned about the next generation of Catholics feeling disconnected from the mission or not even really understanding it. In most cases, participants emphasized the need for more creative, engaging faith formation and opportunities for adult formation, devotion and well-celebrated liturgies that touch the hearts and minds of parishioners. Often, it was said, parishioners need to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit. There was also a call for a clear, united voice from the Church on its teachings.
Parishioners listed many impactful ministries at their parishes like bereavement, poverty relief, homebound and senior care ministries, and pro-life advocacy. Some recognized the need for more service opportunities to better engage younger Catholics. Many expressed a need for an evangelization ministry to reach the unaffiliated or outreach missions to those who have left the Church. There were countless parents and grandparents who expressed a deep hurt over their children leaving the Church and asked for spiritual guidance. Almost all who participated were willing to help with new evangelization and spiritual outreach but are asking for guidance on what exactly they should be doing.
The Diocese of Greensburg will continue to use an integrated approach to gather input from across the region from as many individuals as possible over the next five years. The Diocese has taken seriously the call from our Holy Father to create a more Synodal Church. We will continue to implement listening sessions, continue to gather input, and continue looking for opportunities to evangelize.
An example of that process was a year-long faith formation study in the Diocese of Greensburg called “Christ Is the Truth,” in which listening sessions were conducted and surveys distributed in order to discover the thoughts and needs of those most directly involved with providing faith formation throughout the Diocese. Input regarding the whole area of Faith Formation was gleaned from the Synodal listening sessions as well.
Much of the feedback we received centered on the need for creative catechesis programming, collaboration among parishes, schools and facilitating dynamic encounters with Christ. A strategic hire of an individual is needed who has demonstrated success in creating and executing pastoral plans that engage entire families using various forms of faith formation.
The listening sessions and the surveys supported the need for enhanced catechetical offerings, communication, collaboration and outreach in and among the parishes in the Diocese of Greensburg. The fulfillment of many of these needs will help the leaders of our parishes to bring Christ to the people.