Last fall, Catholics throughout the world were captivated by animated debate that took place during the Oct. 5-19 extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family. Now, Catholics in the Diocese of Rochester have a chance to help shape discussion this coming October at the ordinary Synod of Bishops, which will focus on the vocation and mission of the family in the church and contemporary world.
Local Catholics may provide input by responding to an online survey based on the final report from the 2014 extraordinary synod on the family, according to Shannon Loughlin, associate director of the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.
"We’re midway in the process between those two synods," Loughlin explained, noting that in December the Vatican published a lineamenta, or preparatory document, for the October 2015 synod.
This preparatory document includes the summary, or relatio synodi, of the October 2014 synod, as well as 46 questions that will form the basis for consultation at the upcoming synod, she added. Catholic bishops’ conferences throughout the world have been asked to prepare responses to these questions by soliciting input from "churches, academic institutions, lay movements and other ecclesial associations," according to the preparatory document’s preface.
Bishop Salvatore R. Matano has decided to gather information by asking members of the Diocese of Rochester to submit their answers to the lineamenta‘s 46 questions via an online survey, which may be found here.
"It is a very important survey, from the point of view (that) this has been requested of us by Pope Francis, and we would love to get to show our engagement in the global church. We get to be part of this global initiative. It’s exciting," Loughlin remarked.
She advised that those interested in participating in the survey leave themselves plenty of time to complete it, because respondents cannot save their answers, close the survey and finish it at a later time. Instead, the survey must be completed in a single online session. The survey is not in multiple-choice format, but rather each question invites respondents to type their answers and comments. Participants may skip questions they would prefer not to answer. Some people may find it helpful to prepare themselves by first reading the lineamenta , which they can access via a link at the beginning of the survey, Loughlin added.
"It is our hope that people will take the time to look through the questions and respond honestly," she said.
The survey must be completed by March 1, at which time diocesan staff will tabulate the results and send them to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The USCCB will, in turn, forward to the Vatican the results of American dioceses’ surveys.