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Synod ends: Time to take action begins

More than 1,000 attend closing assembly, hear final goals, praise process

 

 

Archbishop Thomas Wenski delivers a brief pep talk to South Florida Catholics at the conclusion of the Synod closing assembly.

Photographer: ANA RODRIGUEZ-SOTO | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski delivers a brief pep talk to South Florida Catholics at the conclusion of the Synod closing assembly. "Every one of you is great because you have served so well," he said.

MIAMI | South Florida Catholics: Your work is cut out for you.

You spoke. The archbishop listened. The focus teams debated and consolidated your suggestions. The leadership and integration teams turned them into specific goals and priorities.

On Oct. 26, representatives of those focus teams announced their recommendations to a crowd of more than 1,000 who gathered at the Hilton Downtown Miami for the Synod closing assembly. One by one they listed their conclusion, their final goals and the activities designed to turn those goals into reality. 

Carmelite Sister Rosalie Nagy and Sister Elizabeth Worley of the Sisters of St. Joseph hold up the signs denoting the Synod focus teams in which they participated.

Photographer: ANA RODRIGUEZ-SOTO | FC

Carmelite Sister Rosalie Nagy and Sister Elizabeth Worley of the Sisters of St. Joseph hold up the signs denoting the Synod focus teams in which they participated.

“The key now is execution,” said Jim Flood, a banker from St. Andrew Parish in Coral Springs who served on the focus team examining parish life and stewardship. “These are all great ideas that the lay people gave. The follow-through is the key to serving the Lord. We just need to put it into motion.”

Flood was one of many who got up at 5 a.m. to make it to downtown Miami for the Synod closing. Many began arriving before 7 a.m. to make sure they got a seat for the 9 a.m. closing Mass, which was celebrated by Archbishop Thomas Wenski, more than three dozen archdiocesan priests and several visiting bishops.

Synod focus team members clap at the conclusion of the Synod closing assembly.

Photographer: ANA RODRIGUEZ-SOTO | FC

Synod focus team members clap at the conclusion of the Synod closing assembly.

Most notable among the bishops was the Honduran cardinal whose subsequent talk would move those present to cheer and applaud with abandon. 

The audience included many of the 800 or so South Florida Catholics who volunteered a collective 12,000 hours of personal time to serve on the focus teams or other Synod committees.

“It was long, hard work but it was very rewarding,” said Bernadette Johnson of St. Martha Church in Miami Shores, who served on the focus team on lay ministry. “We listened and based on what we heard from what people wanted — and based on the experiences of the people in the group — collectively we came up with some answers to take us in the direction we hope the archbishop wants us to go.”

Johnson called her participation in the focus team “an eye-opening experience.” 

In a way, that matched her summary of her team’s recommendations: “The main thing was to make the lay ministry (classes) more viable and visible to everybody,” she said. “Don’t be the best kept secret… A lot of people don’t even know there’s this class.”

In fact, the need for better formation in the faith, one of the recurring topics at the listening sessions, turned into one of the three top Synod priorities: Deepening discipleship through faith formation and support.

The other two were expanding the missionary outreach to youths and young adults — no less than four focus teams dealt with that topic — and establishing parishes that are centers of hope and evangelization.

If focus team members’ own experience is any indication, the Archdiocese of Miami is well on its way to achieving that goal.

“I was blessed to even be part of this,” said Flood, giving a lot of credit to Synod Director Rosemarie Banich for keeping all the Synod teams focused and on track. He added that he especially appreciated the opportunity, as a lay man, to “tell people exactly how you feel about what the Church needs…. I learned the Church really cares. You don’t meet for months like this and not care.”

“This is the culmination of the shared wisdom of thousands of people across this archdiocese who responded to the archbishop’s call,” said Vilma Angulo, who served on the Synod leadership team as well as the team that created a structure for the soon-to-be-created Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. 

“I’m delighted,” Angulo continued. “It is with Gospel hope and unlimited gratitude that I am here today. Today is a celebration of all that is right in our diocese.”
After speaking at the Synod closing assembly, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga laughs at a joke made by co-master of ceremonies Father Jose Alvarez.

Photographer: ANA RODRIGUEZ-SOTO | FC

After speaking at the Synod closing assembly, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga laughs at a joke made by co-master of ceremonies Father Jose Alvarez.

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