Diocesan Life Office, Synod and Eucharistic Revival Part of Packed Agenda at DPC
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
June 16, 2022
ROCKFORD—The Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) met for a packed agenda on June 11 that included a presentation from the Life and Family Evangelization Office director, Therese Stahl.
After two years of meeting via zoom, the members gathered in person to participate in discussions with Bishop David Malloy on matters of importance to diocesan Catholics and their respective parishes.
After group prayer, DPC members listened to an overview and updates from the LiFE Office. Stahl talked about the mission and vision of the LiFE Office and presented an overview of current activities of the department. She also addressed the impact and importance of the pending decision by the Supreme Court in the Jackson v Dobbs case which will determine whether all pre-viability bans on elective abortions are constitutional or unconstitutional. 
Nominations Sought for a DPC Representative
There are currently openings on the Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) for a lay representative from the deaneries of DeKalb, Elgin, McHenry and Sterling. The Deanery may be identified by consulting the Diocesan map at http://www.rockforddiocese.org/about-us/map-of-the-diocese/.
Prospective members may nominate themselves for three-year terms that begin with the Nov. 5, 2022 meeting. 
The Council addresses matters of pastoral concern that Bishop Malloy raises. He may also invite the Council itself to surface matters of pastoral concern.
The criteria for serving on the DPC include being a practicing Catholic, in good standing in the Church, who has shown commitment in a parish. The candidate should possess good judgment, be comfortable in a group setting, and be able to appreciate the wide spectrum of ministries and services that the diocese provides.
DPC members serve a three-year term, beginning with the Nov. 5th meeting. This term may be renewed once. The representatives typically meet twice each year at the Diocesan Administration Center in Rockford, but may also meet virtually, online.
Prospective members may nominate themselves by contacting the appropriate dean of their deanery: DeKalb: Very Rev. William Etheredge, Elgin: Very Rev. Msgr. Daniel Deutsch, McHenry: Very Rev. Robert Jones and Sterling: Very Rev. James Keenan. Nominations must be made in writing and sent by postal mail or email by Aug. 31, 2022. Candidates should list their current and past involvement in church life and explain in their own words why they wish to be a part of the DPC.
A link to contact information for the deans may be found at  http://www.rockforddiocese.org/priests.
Stahl explained that regardless of the high court’s decision, the diocese would be focused on how it can best serve pregnant women and facilitate them in giving life to their children rather than choosing abortion. “Even if Roe v Wade is overturned, which we hope it will be, there is still much work for the Church to do,” she told members.
As part of that work, Stahl gave a detailed outline of the Walking With Moms in Need Program now available in the diocese. The program, initiated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, brings together resources in each area of the diocese that serve mothers by linking them to everything from where to get ultrasound and pregnancy testing, to emergency assistance, health care, counseling, baby clothes and formula, to adoption services. Walking With Moms in Need brings together all the available resources by region so parishes can make the information available to moms (and dads) so they may connect with local organizations to receive the help they need. Another part of the program is that the list provides a tool for parishes and Respect Life Coordinators to evaluate what more can be done at the parish level to assist parents in crisis. 
Next on the agenda was an update on the status of the Synod 2021-2023 process. Kevin Fuss, director of Research and Planning, executive secretary of the DPC and point person for the diocesan synodal process, shared a power point presentation on the synod status along with the identification of common themes which have surfaced in the feedback and listening sessions held with various groups throughout the diocese.
Pope Francis opened the Synodal process in Rome on Oct. 10, 2021. In Rockford, Bishop Malloy, along with bishops throughout the world, opened the diocesan phase of the Synodal process Oct. 17, 2021. 
The diocese then began the “Listening Phase” from November 2021 to June 2022, inviting input from all people in the diocese through website questions, parish meetings and listening sessions with various groups. That input will now be summarized into a diocesan “Synthesis” report due to the USCCB  June 30. That report will be part of a 16-region summary that will make up the one North American report which will be submitted to Rome with other areas of the world. This will then all culminate with the Synod of Bishops in Rome in October of 2023 followed by the implementation phase.
Since the diocesan synod discussion began at the Diocesan Pastoral Council, Fuss reported back to members on the most common themes surfaced by participants. 
He said synod participants reported feeling a sense of communion and participate in parish life when they are welcomed and feel connected to a strong and active parish community. They withdraw when they do not, Fuss reported.
A majority said there is an urgent need for Catholics to recognize the real presence of the Lord in the Holy Eucharist. 
While Anglo participants wanted good homilies that related the Gospels to issues and struggles of daily life with some kind of “takeaway” or assignment of prayer or faith practice, Hispanic respondents wanted the focus on more “formation aspects” and teaching moments.
Other common themes identified include:
�–� The importance of parish-sponsored activities and events.
�–� Adult and youth formation are key to communion, participation and mission (the three themes of the synod).
�–� A disciplined and serious prayer life coupled with regular Mass attendance keeps people in communion with the Church and inspires and guides them in their daily life.
�–� There is a need to encounter people wherever they are on their faith journey and accompany them on a one-to-one basis along that path.
�–� Vagueness and imprecise language from Rome sometimes causes confusion among the faithful that makes fulfilling the Church’s mission more difficult. 
�–� Working with and partnering with other faiths has slowed. 
�–� We as a Church could do a better job of evangelizing youth.
After some discussion about these themes and topics that had not surfaced in the feedback, DPC members closed out the meeting with a discussion about the upcoming Eucharistic Revival.
Bishop Malloy outlined the reason for the revival, what it hopes to accomplish and how it will begin here in the Rockford Diocese. Bishop Malloy will begin the diocesan phase of the Eucharistic Revival with a Mass and procession June 19 at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Peter.
Also at the three-hour meeting, Bishop Malloy thanked DPC members Heather Dunaway, Ben Emma, Father David Finn, Paul Mayer and Charlie Sondgeroth who served two-terms (6 years) on the council and attended their last meeting June 11.


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