Catholics urged to attend a
local synodal listening session

From those who have disconnected from the church in the past to active parishioners, the Archdiocese of Louisville is inviting all Catholics to gather and share their experiences of church — including their wounds and their blessings, their dreams and their hopes — by participating in a synodal listening session between now and May.

Unlike most church synods, which typically are reserved for bishops and other prelates, Pope Francis’ Synod on Synodality — “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission” — is meant for all.

Last fall, the Holy Father invited believers to gather and share their experiences, hopes and dreams for the church at the local level as part of the synod.

In response, the Archdiocese of Louisville has invited parishes, religious communities, lay organizations, schools, universities, local charities and others to hold synodal listening sessions. The archdiocese also provided a format for the sessions, available at

About half of the parishes in Jefferson County have held or are planning listening sessions. And about half of those are open to the public. A handful are also planned at parishes outside Jefferson County.

Richard “Tink” Guthrie, vice-chancellor and coordinator of the synod process for the archdiocese, hopes everyone able to will attend a session.

“There are about 25 we know of that are open to the public,” he said during an interview last week. “Most of them are parishes, but they are saying you are welcome to join.”

He noted that joining in a session outside your parish will not be detrimental.

“It’s a unique opportunity to be in small group dialogue, sharing our experience of church — the blessings, the hopes, the desires — as well as hearing that from others whose experience will frequently be different from our own.”

Archdiocesan agencies that work with various groups of people, such as the Office of Hispanic Ministry and Catholic Charities, are also holding sessions, he noted.

Some Catholic grade schools and high schools have already scheduled sessions as well, Guthrie said.

“It’s not universal, but some subset of these are doing it,” he said. “We hope to have universal participation.”

All those interested in hosting a session are encouraged to contact Guthrie at the Archdiocese of Louisville Pastoral Center.

Informal and formal lay groups, religious communities, parishes and others may reach Guthrie at or 585-3291, ext. 1118.

For general information about the synod and the local process, visit

The synod webpage also includes a listing of sessions that are open to the public and indicates whether advance registration is required.

Those unable to attend a session in person may attend an online session being planned for May.

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Marnie McAllister
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