SEPTEMBER 14, 2021 POST
Click on the image of Archbishop Hebda to listen to the Archbishop announce the Synod Focus Areas!
The Synod is here!
Brothers and sisters, we live in an exciting season of hope. No, our world is not rid of all strife, disease, violence, fear, injustices, addictions, or egoism. No, we have not created any miracle solutions or quick-fix methods or once-for-all societal reforms. In fact, the darkness, it always seems, is growing as our culture becomes less structured around the Light of God’s Revelation. So why hope? One word answer: Jesus. He is alive. And I speak from personal experience: never as a priest have I encountered more people returning to encounter God in his sacraments than this year. The more the world suffers, the more the light and challenge of Jesus on the cross shines out. It is not because of amazing new parish programs or quick wit or dazzling holiness. It is only Jesus drawing all to himself. The question is: will we, with Mary and Joseph, say “Yes” to this season of hope, in our words and in our lives?
Beginning today and continuing through the end of October, our parish is embarking on a retreat. The Archbishop has asked each parish in the diocese to set aside this time to contemplate the work that Jesus has done and is doing around us. Jesus has been preparing the hearts of new people that we haven’t even met yet, but we need to look intently with faith to be able to see his work. That is what a retreat is for, and it will serve as the core of our Archdiocesan Synod – opening our hearts and our church to the harvest that is coming. Preparing to open our hearts takes effort, however! Here’s what our retreat will look like:
Each week of our parish synod retreat will begin with our Sunday liturgies, which will have a more reflective tone. This allows God to speak to each of us about the story He is writing in our lives, and will help us speak and listen from that place of encounter. The first week we begin by examining the personal seed of faith that God has planted in each of us, and we will watch that seed grow through the weeks, first to faith in our family, then our parish, community, archdiocese, world, and beyond!
In addition to Sunday mass, we are asking every parishioner to attend one synod session each week (either Thursday nights at 7pm or Saturday mornings at 10am), which will begin with a direct video-teaching from the Archbishop and his team about our core identity as Catholic Christians, and end with some very specific discussion questions about how we live that identity as a Church. To give you a “sneak preview” about what the teachings and discussion questions will be, we have included the Archbishop’s three topic areas below.
Each of our table discussions will have a facilitator and notetaker who will help submit any key themes that emerge to the archbishop’s team. As broad themes emerge, the Archbishop hopes they will shape his prayer and leadership as he plans a pastoral letter next year to further unify our local church around Jesus Christ.
Lastly, you may have noticed that, in this year of St. Joseph, we are entrusting our Synod and retreat to him, the Patron of the Universal Church. Be sure to bring your holy card with you to church each week throughout October as we will pray the St. Joseph prayer after every mass! I’m so looking forward to entering this month of prayer and reflection with you.
-Fr. Nick Hagen
Forming parishes that are in the service of evangelization.
- Welcoming parishes: What can we do to make parishes more welcoming and accessible? Are there those who feel excluded from parish life? How can we address them? What have we learned from livestreaming parish events to build inclusion?
- Collaboration in parish ministry: How can we promote a greater sense of ownership of parish activities? How do we call forth the gifts that God has given us to strengthen our parishes? How should parishioners be involved in setting a vision for the parish? How does a parish regularly assess its performance? How can a community provide for continuity when clergy and staff regularly change?
- Liturgy and the Sunday experience: What needs to happen for Sunday liturgies to more completely satisfy spiritual needs and send us forth for service? How should we address the needs of multicultural, multilingual communities at Mass? Are there ways to create an Archdiocesan liturgical identity so that we feel at home in any one of our parishes? What would be important components of that identity?
- Parishes as the “central driving force” of evangelization: How do we foster the “pastoral conversion” of parishes to more fully serve the Church’s evangelizing mission? How can parishes train parishioners to be evangelizers, especially in homes and neighborhoods? What are parish practices that have worked in bringing Catholics back to the Church or in attracting new members?
- Bringing the Implications of the Gospel into our communities: How can parishes be instruments of Christ’s healing? How do we transform parishes to be attentive to the needs of others and to engage in the work of justice and racial equality?
- Forming missionary disciples who know Jesus’ love and respond to his call.
- Encountering Jesus: What resources and experiences facilitate the personal encounter with Christ that is at the heart of missionary discipleship? What are concrete ways that our Church can credibly proclaim the core message of our faith (the “kerygma”) in ways that lead to real conversion?
- Tools to foster discipleship: How can we offer meaningful life-long formation for discipleship? What are useful resources and experiences for learning how to pray, especially with sacred Scripture? What retreat experiences have borne fruit? How can we encourage faith-sharing in small groups? How can we encourage mentoring in the life of virtue and accompaniment at difficult moments?
- Enhancing adult formation: How can we promote a deepening in our understanding of the content of our faith? How can we more effectively meet the need for adult faith formation?
- Fostering the universal call to holiness: How do we deepen our understanding of the family as the domestic Church and our appreciation of marriage as a path for life-long sanctification? How can the Church better accompany couples in living out their vocation throughout their marriage? How can we be more responsive to the spiritual needs of those who are single, separated or divorced, or widowed?
- Joyful service as a Gospel imperative: How do we strengthen the tie between discipleship, love for neighbor and joyful service? How can we encourage individuals to manifest their faith in their works? How can we promote a greater sensitivity and response to the needs of others?
- Forming youth and young adults in and for a Church that is always young.
- Supporting parents as primary educators: How can we better assist parents in forming children as disciples who know and love Jesus and his Church?
- Helping the young encounter Jesus: How do we give pre-teens a personal encounter with Jesus that fosters spiritual growth? How about teenagers? How should we teach them to pray or help them grow in virtue?
- Education at the service of encountering Christ: How can Catholic schools and religious education programs more effectively facilitate a relationship with Jesus? Do our sacramental preparation programs open young hearts to God’s grace and call?
- Ministry to millennials: How can we minister more effectively to college-age Catholics and single young adults? How about young married couples and young families?
- Rethinking structures of young adult ministry: What should be the role of peer ministry and young adult leadership in this apostolate? Is there a need for a more regionalized approach? What are avenues for developing young leadership and opening Church structures to the insights of young adults? How can we better use social media to nourish young adults?
SEPTEMBER 13, 2021 POST
Synod Small Group Meetings
September 23rd through November 6th
Archbishop Hebda needs YOUR help!
The Archdiocesan Synod discussions begin at St. Raphael in a few days.
We hope you have already committed the time to meet, pray, discuss, and give feedback to the Archbishop on the Synod Questions. Please pray for the success of the Synod.
Thursday evenings from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, September 23 to November 4
Saturday mornings from 10:00am to 12 noon, September 25 to November 6.
All St Raphael meetings will be held in Marian Hall.
The Archbishop has determined the following 3 topics for discussion:
1. Weeks 1 and 2: Forming missionary disciples who know Jesus’ love and respond to his call
Tools to foster discipleship
How can we offer meaningful life-long formation for discipleship?
Enhancing adult formation
How can we promote a deepening in our understanding of the content of our faith?
Fostering the universal call to holiness
Joyful service as a Gospel imperative
2. Weeks 3 and 4: Forming parishes that are in the service of evangelization
What can we do to make parishes more welcoming and accessible?
Collaboration in parish ministry
Liturgy and the Sunday experience
Parishes as “central driving force” of evangelization
Bringing the implications of the Gospel into our communities
- Weeks 5 and 6: Forming youth and young adults in and for a Church that is always young
How can we better assist parents in forming children as disciples who know and love Jesus and His Church?
Helping the young encounter Jesus
Education at the service of encountering Christ
Ministry to millennials
Rethinking structures of young adult ministry
How can we better use social media to nourish young adults?
~ Your Synod Core Team.
SEPTEMBER 7, 2021 POST
St. Raphael’s parishioners, thank you for your interest in the upcoming Synod events at St. Raphael. The Synod Core Team appreciates all of the questions and interest that you have shown. There are a couple of things that we need your help with, though:
First, There are several printed handouts for each attendee. Because we have to print materials for each attendee prior to each of the small group meetings, we really need you to pre-register for either a Thursday, or Saturday meeting time. That way, we will know how many copies of each handout we need to print for each meeting.
Second, we need to know how many small group leaders we need for each session and it is necessary for these very important people to be trained. So, it is really helpful for all of you to pre-register for either the Thursday sessions, or the Saturday sessions.
Third, we need to know how to prepare for the all important refreshments for each session. Light refreshments such as cookies, coffee and water will be served during each session.
As you can see, knowing how many people might attend each session is really quite important. We will be stationed in the East Gathering Space with signup forms and will answer any of your questions about the Synod after each mass. Stop by, we would love to talk to you. You may also complete one of the registration forms found at the church entrances or in the parish office. Completed forms may be turned in at the parish office. You may also call the parish office to sign up. 763-537-8401 ext. 222
AUGUST 26, 2021 POST
St. Raphael Parishioners, Thank you for the warm and welcoming reception of the Core Team’s pulpit announcement the weekend of August 21st and 22nd. We hope the information will help as you prayerfully consider engaging in the Synod small group discussions in the fall. We will continue to update the parish each week through the bulletin, Church website and personal appearances in the East Gathering Space after each weekend Mass (except Saturday, August 28). We enjoy speaking with you and are happy to answer your questions and offer signup opportunities and also offer the following What to Expect…
What to Expect when you’re expecting… to participate in Synod Small Groups this Fall: We hope you join in this important step in shaping the future of the Archdiocese. Here is how it will go:
- Arrive at your parish and find a seat at a table of about 8.
- Watch a video which will lead everyone in prayer and share teaching on our beautiful Catholic faith to inform our discussion and response.
- As you are comfortable, share your experience and ideas in discussion with your tablemates.
- Respond to ideas and offer your own suggestions on a feedback form that will be sent to the archdiocese to be considered by Archbishop Hebda.
Mark your calendars for the Synod Small Group Dates. You may choose the Thursday evening or the Saturday morning options. All Small Group meetings will be held in the Marian Hall.
Thursday evenings from 7:00-9:00 pm – September 23, October 7, 14 ,21, 28 and November 4. Or,
Saturday mornings from 10:00 am-12:00 pm – September 25, October 9, 16, 23, 30 and November 6.
AUGUST 16, 2021 POST
Thanks for your interests in our plans to engage the parish in Synod small group discussions in the fall. As you have seen or heard over the past several months, the dates for the small group meetings are established. The St. Raphael Synod Core Team will speak to the parish at each weekend Mass on August 21 / 22.
We will provide brief information about the Synod small group discussion process and encourage your participation. The Core Team members will be available in the East gathering space after each presentation to answer your questions and help you with the signup process.
Archbishop Hebda asked of us the following:
- What can we do to make parishes more welcoming and accessible?
- How can we offer meaningful life-long formation for discipleship?
- How can we better assist parents in forming children as disciples who know and love Jesus and his Church?
We hope some of these thoughts are on your minds and you will engage in this opportunity for discussions with fellow parishioners and share your perspective with the Archdiocese.
Please prayerfully consider accepting the roles of facilitator or scribe if you are attending the small group discussions. Detailed in person or ZOOM training will be conducted by the Archdiocese.
For more information about Synod 2022 click on the following links:
Synod – https://www.archspm.org/synod
Facilitator and Scribes – http://www.archspm.org/ambassadors
Your Synod Core Team.
AUGUST 8, 2021 POST
Welcome to the Archdiocesan Synod! Archbishop Hebda has asked each parish in the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis to assist in planning the spiritual direction of the archdiocese for the next 5-10 years by conducting meetings in each parish to provide information and feedback to him and his team.
Please plan to participate with the St. Raphael family by meeting together on the following dates:
Thursday evenings from 7:00-9:00 pm – September 23, October 7, 14 ,21, 28 and November 4. Or,
Saturday mornings from 10:00 am-12:00 pm – September 25, October 9, 16, 23, 30 and November 6. All meetings will be held in Marian Hall.
The following is a link to the Prayer of St. Joseph for the success of the Synod: https://www.archspm.org/synod/stjoseph/prayer-to-saint-joseph-order-prayer-cards