All steps are subject to guidance and approval of the Bishop and his staff. All steps except step 4 are subject to guidance and approval of the Parish rector and his staff.
Parish Synod is open to all parishioners. All are parishioners and all are free to participate and vote on all issues before the Synod. Synod meets twice each month, on a Saturday, one meeting for those who work on day shift, and one who work on swing shift. Each Saturday constitutes one meeting, regardless of the number of actual meetings.Each Sunday, Parish Synod presents what it has accomplished to the parish over coffee and doughnuts or other light snacks as appropriate after each Mass. Diocesan Synod budget pays expense.
After each meeting of the Parish Synod, the Parish Synod appoints delegate to a Diocesan monthly meeting to coordinate information and share ideas.
(1) Pastoral Council chairs initial meeting of synod with first order of business being the election of a chair and synod leadership. Parish Synod/ define the Parish as distinct from other parishes in the diocese. This process takes three months or more, with one meeting per month.
(2) Parish Synod/discuss problems. These could include parish budget, parish outreach into the local community, parish influence in the political process, for example that there are 250 Catholic colleges and universities graduating 70,000 students each year, but most Catholics feel there are no candidates to vote for. Politicians are either conservative, ignoring life after birth, or liberal, ignoring life before birth. Most Catholics are uniformed as to the current Catholic understanding of ethics at the local or communal level. Most parishes suffer under the weight of the 80/20 rule. The richest 20% of parishioners, representing the richest 20% of the general population who control 80% of secular wealth, contribute 80% of church revenues. As such, they tend to be over represented in the Pastoral Council, and therefore parish decision making. This process of defining the problem takes three meetings, or more as required.
(3) Parish Synod/ define what a successful Parish synod would be quantifiable and verifiable terms. Define success for the synod in quantifiable and verifiable terms. They define how the Parish will be different after the Synod than before the Synod, in quantifiable and verifiable terms. This takes three meetings or more as required.Parish Synod appoints delegates to the Diocesan Synod.
(4) Diocesan Synod/ Diocese completes first three steps at the diocesan level. Diocesan synod proposes solutions to the Bishop and Diocesan staff. Diocesan Synod defines itself as distinct from other diocese and denominations, being favorable to other denominations. Diocesan Synod meets until the Bishop adjourns the Synod. Synod date is finalized upon completion of the last parish-completing step (3).
(5) Parish Synod/ in light of Diocesan Synod further defines itself in relation to other parishes in the diocese, and other churches close to itself. Develops ecumenical plan for participation with other parishes and local churches. Parish Synod, in light of Diocesan Synod proposes solutions to Parish Rector and Parish Council. Proposes direction for moving forward. This process lasts until Parish Rector adjourns the Synod.