Letter’s action steps followed prayerful discernment after Synod 16

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron

Editor’s Note: Over 20 issues, The Michigan Catholic is bringing you, in bite-sized chunks, Archbishop Vigneron’s pastoral letter, Unleash the Gospel. Below is the 19th of 20 excerpts, taken from the letter’s fifth section, “Propositions and Action Steps.” Because this section is lengthy, we are including only the Archbishop’s introduction to the section here. To read the action steps themselves — or to catch up on other sections you’ve missed — visit www.unleashthegospel.org.

“Be doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22).

The propositions and action steps which follow are the culmination of an intense effort to discern the promptings of the Holy Spirit, through the people of God throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit. This effort began in November of 2015, by first listening to the many parishioners and pastors, who assembled in more than 240 Dialogue Gatherings to discern the Spirit’s voice regarding their experiences around “Encounter, Grow, and Witness.”

Through this effort, more than 11,000 comments were collected and synthesized in order to develop the propositions discussed at Synod 16, a three-day event in which more than 400 Synod members gathered to discuss and discern the most critical and urgent ways in which to begin the journey of becoming a missionary Archdiocese. Out of 36 propositions, in a process that included voting by the Synod members, nine propositions rose to the top as being the most important to begin the journey. As you will see [in the letter; visit www.unleashthegospel.org], I accept and fully endorse these nine propositions that the Synod recognized as having the highest priority.

Subsequent to the Synod, I consulted with my Unleash the Gospel Leadership Team, a group of key advisors who have been prayerfully involved in planning for the synod and assisting me in helping to transform our culture to embrace the New Evangelization. With their support, I commissioned a small working group to evaluate and once again synthesize, what was revealed by the Synod discussion, not just the voting. Upon their review, which included evaluation of over 400 comments from the Synod members and a review of the reports from 46 expert advisors, as well as a review of the actual video account of the Synod members reporting, they provided a detailed report regarding what was heard and what was revealed at the Synod, ever vigilant to hear the possible “prophet” among all the discussion.

Having received the report, I then consulted further to establish concrete action steps in support of the propositions. The action steps which follow were developed, as has been true this entire process, with prayerful discernment and dedication of the team members, assisted by many individuals along the way. For my part, I not only received proposed action steps from others, but have also been personally involved in developing these action steps, seeking to be faithful to what the Holy Spirt has revealed throughout our Synod process. I am confident that these action steps, rooted in the Holy Spirit, and blessed by a ”New Pentecost” will put us on a solid foundation to begin again, with a renewed energy, our work of missionary discipleship.

To read more of the archbishop’s letter, including the action steps referenced above, or to catch up on sections you’ve missed, visit www.unleashthegospel.org.

Reflection question

How can I see the Holy Spirit at work in the Archdiocese of Detroit? What is the Archbishop asking of me in these action steps to Unleash the Gospel?