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Team time

As end of Synod listening sessions nears, volunteers sought for focus teams

Dan Cellucci of the Catholic Leadership Institute directs the Synod Leadership Team in their planning and discussion session.


Dan Cellucci of the Catholic Leadership Institute directs the Synod Leadership Team in their planning and discussion session.

Synod: By the numbers
  • Final attendance at 11 June listening sessions with Archbishop Thomas Wenski: 2,500 people
  • Written feedback forms submitted: 1,700
  • Synod focus teams: 18
  • Focus team members needed: 400
MIAMI | Hey, South Florida Catholics: The archbishop is still listening.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski may not be physically present as he was at the 11 Synod listening sessions that took place at the end of June, but the Synod staff is continuing to collect online feedback forms until Sept. 30.

The archbishop is scheduled to be present at two more listening sessions that are planned for young people: Sept. 18 at St. Thomas University for college students and young adults; and sometime in November for teens and members of parish youth groups. Another listening session is scheduled for members of lay and apostolic movements Sept. 19 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity in Miami. 

A few parishes have hosted their own Synod listening sessions with the pastors standing in for the archbishop. Holy Redeemer and St. Philip Neri parishes in Miami teamed up for a listening session August 8 that focused primarily on the joys, concerns and dreams of black Catholics. Other parishes that also hosted listening sessions in August were St. Patrick on Miami Beach and St. Agatha in Miami. Still another session — this time at the parish level — is set for Sept. 22 at St. Kevin Church in Miami.

Synod leadership team
The role of the archdiocese’s Synod leadership team is to serve as a steering committee for the overall work of the synod. The team members are:
  • Archbishop Thomas Wenski 
  • Vilma Angulo, former director of religious education at St. Gregory and All Saints parishes in Broward County and a member of St. Bonaventure Parish in Davie
  • Michelle Ducker, campus minister at St. Augustine Church and Catholic Student Center in Coral Gables
  • Mother Adela Galindo, foundress of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary 
  • Manny Garcia-Tuñón, a partner at a Miami engineering and construction firm and a member of Good Shepherd Parish in Miami
  • Josephine Gilbert, president of the Miami Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women and a member of St. Gregory Parish in Plantation
  • Emilio González, former director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and a member of St. Agnes in Key Biscayne
  • Deacon Jorge González, spiritual director of the lay marriage preparation movement Camino del Matrimonio and a member of St. Timothy Parish in Miami
  • Father Reginald Jean Marie, pastor of Notre Dame d’Haiti Church in Miami 
  • Deacon Steven Lee, a real estate attorney and member of Gesu Parish in Miami
  • Father José Luis Menéndez, pastor of Corpus Christi Church in Miami 
  • Sister Rosalie Nagy of the Carmelites of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, currently serving as principal of Archbishop Coleman Carroll High School in Miami
  • Msgr. Pablo Navarro, pastor of St. John Neumann Church in Miami

Serving as coordinating staff for the leadership team are:
  • Rosemarie Banich, director of the Synod
  • Dan Cellucci, Father Bill Dickinson, Barbara Eckert, Christina Hannon and Janna Kerr, all of the Catholic Leadership Institute
In the meantime, the Synod leadership team has continued to meet. At their August session they started mapping out the areas that will be the focus of study for as many as 18 focus teams.
“Now the second phase of the Synod is underway,” wrote Synod Director Rosemarie Banich in a recent Let’s Talk blog posted on the archdiocesan website. “The responses provided on thousands of feedback forms have been entered into a database and sorted by topic.”  

Once those focus areas have been finalized, teams of volunteers from across the archdiocese will be assigned to study them in order to come up with a plan that the archdiocese can put into action. 

According to Banich, focus team members will be asked to “study the most current research related to that area of ministry, and confer with Pastoral Center and other ministry leaders” before making their recommendations. Their work will conclude sometime in February 2013, when their recommendations will be forwarded to an integrated planning team that will come up with the final Synod document.

“Remember that in order to create a pastoral plan that is attainable, it must be very specific, and cannot contain more initiatives than the archdiocese can realistically accomplish,” Banich wrote in her blog.

In the meantime, the archdiocese is looking for about 400 people to join the various focus teams. Self-recommendations are welcome. But the archbishop also has been meeting with archdiocesan pastors to ask them to recommend parishioners who are knowledgeable about the different focus areas and would be willing to make the time commitment necessary to work on a team.

“This is another opportunity for people to be a part of the Synod,” wrote Banich. 

The Synod team members will be in place by Oct. 13, when they will be commissioned to serve by Archbishop Wenski at the 5:30 p.m. Mass at St. Mary Cathedral. The Mass also marks the kick-off of the Year of Faith in the archdiocese, and everyone is welcome to attend.

For the most up-to-date information about the Synod — as well as forms for applying to be a focus team member and for submitting feedback — go to Also there are photo albums of various Synod events and links to Synod Director Rosemarie Banich’s ongoing Synod Snapshot reports.
Archbishop Thomas Wenski relays Synod information to the pastors as they finish their lunch.


Archbishop Thomas Wenski relays Synod information to the pastors as they finish their lunch.

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