Listening sessions will begin in February at western Oregon parishes and within other local Catholic groups as part of a major church movement called for by Pope Francis.

The pope has asked Catholics to listen to one another better and to meet in the leadup to a 2023 synod of bishops that he hopes will make the church more participative, tightknit and effective. The title of the synod will be “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.”

In the Archdiocese of Portland, the prayer and adoration phase of the movement has begun already, with all Masses to include a petition for the success of the project. The special prayers will continue through Aug. 15.

On Jan. 20, the archdiocese will offer an online workshop for pastors, pastoral council chairpersons, religious superiors, apostolate directors, and Catholic leaders. There will be time for questions, and the session will be recorded.

In February and March, parishes and other groups will convene their people for what the archdiocese is calling discernment gatherings. The meetings will be open to all. Other groups could be religious communities, apostolates, schools, social service agencies and people of other faiths who are interested in the good of the Catholic Church.

During April and May, area groupings of parishes called vicariates will meet for more discussion, listening and discernment with delegates from the parishes.

In June 2022, there will be an archdiocesan-wide meeting to identify themes and trends in the talks. The archdiocesan discernment period will be guided by Archbishop Alexander Sample and involve the priests council, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council and selected leaders.

During July, the archdiocese will prepare a report on the sessions and send it to Washington, D.C., home of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. After that, the national body will prepare a report with input from across the nation and send it to the Vatican.

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