The Archdiocesan Discernment Process launched nearly a year ago, which invited all the faithful of the archdiocese to engage in collective discernment together and listen to how the Lord is calling the Archdiocese of Denver to mission in this new apostolic age we live in. Each parish elected two representatives to attend the March discernment gathering described earlier in the magazine, where hundreds of faithful Catholics representing the entirely of the Church in northern Colorado prayed together and discussed what they heard the Holy Spirit saying. As we outlined in the latest issue of the Denver Catholic, the Holy Spirit spoke very clearly about where the Lord is calling our community of faith; as a result, we asked parishes to share how they’re listening to the Holy Spirit within their own communities. Here’s what some of them said.
Parish representatives Mary Erwin and Mary Engle have organized a parish Core Synod Team that will be meeting with our parish ministry coordinators in September to review and update all the specific ministries within the parish. Christ on the Mountain is fortunate to have several ministries that range from youth programs, adult faith education, community outreach programs, marriage prep classes, small faith communities, music ministry, etc. Some of these programs have changed leadership and/or have made other changes to their specific ministry program. All of us on the Core Team would like to make sure we are fully updated on these changes before we invite all the parish members to participate in an evening of prayer, reflection, information sharing, and welcome new members to engage in an active parish life through several ministry options. All are welcome!
-Mary E., Christ on the Mountain Parish in Lakewood
At Risen Christ, the synodal process strengthened our commitment to small group experiences, which we had started to build just prior to the synod. After the synod, we added a weekly Sunday scripture study (in a small group setting) to discuss the Sunday Mass readings. That group continues to meet every Sunday morning.
-Father Scott Bailey, Pastor, Risen Christ Parish in Denver
Following the last discernment meeting in Denver, we identified four main areas that the Holy Spirit revealed to us to work on as a parish that include: Healing, Unity, Equip and Outreach. In response to this, we had scheduled a time for parish reflection and prayer for May 22 to further discern what the Holy Spirit was calling us to do. Unfortunately, we had to reschedule the event and it will take place on Sunday, August 28, following mass. The event will include sharing breakfast together as a parish; spending time together sharing and further identifying the four main areas and finally (most importantly) spending time before the Blessed Sacrament to receive guidance from the Holy Spirit. The event will close with Praise and Worship, as well as a time for sharing as a parish community. We will gather information and insights shared at this event to help plan future events for the parish. Some of the ideas on the table include, but are not limited to: healing retreats, small groups, opportunities to identify our individual giftedness and how to use it to strengthen our parish. We are excited to see what God has for us as individual disciples, families and parishioners.
-Mary F., St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Wray
Notre Dame Parish hosted a town hall meeting in October, in part to prepare for the synod process. An open invitation was extended to all parishioners, who met in February to discern the subjects of discernment outlined by the archdiocese. Our representatives took that to the March meeting. Now, following the release of the archdiocesan report, we met August 5 to review it with anyone in the parish who wanted to come and spend the day doing so, using the same synodal format. The parish pastoral council is now preparing a new parish mission statement, based in large measure on the “results” of the parish and archdiocesan synodal gatherings.
-Msgr. Ed Buelt, Pastor, Notre Dame Parish in Denver
In the Executive Report under “Family,” the following statement was an affirmation of what we are doing in Family Faith Formation at Christ the King: “Parents are the primary formators and educators of their children, but many are lost and confused as to how to carry out this role. There is a desire, especially from parents, to receive formation and accompaniment . . .” We have been doing a family-based faith formation program at Christ the King for the past three years and have found it to be an effective way for parents to bring the Catholic faith more intentionally into their homes. We provide formation for parents, and if needed, individually accompany them as they teach their children the faith. Our program is very small, but the fruits of greater Mass and Confession participation, and the parents’ growing desire to teach their children the Faith beyond the sacrament preparation grades, is a little more evident each year.
-Roberta M., Christ the King Parish in Denver
A small team has come together at St. John Paul II Parish in Thornton, led by our pastor Father James Spahn to pray and discern how to best accompany the parishioners and convert/deepen their hearts and minds toward Christ. This team is in its infancy but has taken steps to better understand the need to answer Jesus’ call to evangelize; to be intentional disciples to our parishioners, to help them grow in their faith so they are “armed for the mission” and can then be the salt and light in the surrounding community. A mission statement has been drafted. The ministry leaders of the parish will be brought in to help on this journey. A potential name for this team was created; Parish Apostles for Christ, with the acronym “PAX.”
– Pam V., St. John Paul II Parish in Thornton
At our small parish, Our Lady of the Pines in Conifer, I do believe we are seeing the Holy Spirit’s fire lit amongst parishioners since the synod in order to rebuild community and evangelization that faltered during COVID. Our dedicated priest, deacons, religious education leaders and parishioners have begun to institute Monday summer small groups to discuss meaningful topics, restaurant get-togethers for building community, parish favorites such as our annual picnic and post-Mass donut socials, hosted community events like Conifer Fest, praise and worship nights and adoration sessions for our teen youth group, service projects in our family of faith sessions, children’s liturgy, and an additional Eucharistic adoration evening for all parishioners. It’s exciting to see!
– Amy H., Our Lady of the Pines Parish in Conifer