To help prepare for his October meeting with bishops from all over the world, Pope Francis has asked for input from all Catholics, including those of the Archdiocese of Denver. In response, the archdiocese has designed an online questionnaire available for all Catholics of northern Colorado to complete from now through March 2.
“The Vatican made it clear they wanted to have the widest consultation possible,” explained David Uebbing, chancellor. “To do that, we designed a questionnaire that tries to assess the needs families have, using clear, short questions.”
The Oct. 4-25 meeting—known as an ordinary general assembly of the synod—will be the second and larger of two such Vatican gatherings to take place over the course of a year. Like its precursor, the focus of the October 2014 extraordinary synod will be the family, specifically “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the modern world.”
“The questionnaire will help improve the Church’s ministry on a wide range of topics,” Uebbing said, “like providing support for parents, strengthening family relationships, communication and finances.”
The 38-question, multiple-choice questionnaire addresses three main areas: one’s personal experience of family life, how parish life impacts the family, and how one is living their faith in “the world.” Questions include: What constitutes the greatest challenge to families? Which topics would you like to hear more about in homilies? How many people at work are aware of your faith? and Does your family pray together? It concludes with an open-ended question: How could the Church best help foster stronger, more faithful families?
The questions were developed by a team of members from the Archbishop’s Office, the Communications Office, and the Office of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries.
“Listening and input has always been a key part of the synod,” said Kevin Knight, sacramental preparation and education specialist for the archdiocese, and a member of the team. “It’s a worldwide effort.”
Archbishop Samuel Aquila will also use the information to better serve his flock in Colorado, according to Uebbing.
“The archbishop really wants to use as many communication tools as he can to expand his ministry to every part of the archdiocese,” he said.
In addition to input from individual families, the archbishop will gather feedback from those who serve families such as priests, religious orders, ecclesial movements, and academic institutions. Prior to the 2014 synod, Archbishop Aquila collected similar information from the head of each deanery, or geographic region, of the archdiocese.
Once the information is received from Catholics in northern Colorado, it will be compiled into a report by Archbishop Aquila, and then delivered to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. In turn, the USCCB will submit a report to the Vatican that summarizes the findings from the entire country.
This feedback of the universal Church will be used to craft a working document that will help guide the bishops’ discussions at the synod. There an estimated 557,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese of Denver, 76 million in the U.S., and 1.2 billion worldwide.
Pope Francis has asked all families to support the synod in prayer, saying, “May we all, then, pray together so that through these events the Church will undertake a true journey of discernment and adopt the necessary pastoral means to help families face their present challenges with the light and strength that comes from the Gospel.”
To participate in the archdiocese’s questionnaire, visit www.archden.org/questionnaire before March 2.
Questionnaire on family life
Complete online Feb. 9-March 2 here.