Twilight Twitches

msgrfetscherDear Family,
As I write, (last Wednesday), I’m still floating in the wake of pulling together your synod responses.

When I say floating, I’m thinking I might have used “fogging” instead. But the product of your work – those of you who participated at the tables, or in written responses (12), - was really good.

Maryellen Maher, Ed and Jill Rebholz (our Synod representatives) as well as Annie Gardner and I each made a summary of your table responses.

We will meet to merge our five summaries. Our report and those of the other parishes and diocesan ministries will come together and be given to Archbishop Wenski who in turn gives it to the other U.S. bishops, who then combine and finally send it to Pope Francis. (Gasp and pant.)

Our report to the diocese has its own general format and I will make sure that all of you who were good enough to participate will get a copy.

It’s amazing, thinking about just how much is going into this around the Catholic world – at least I hope so.

One of my personal reactions is being impressed about what people did know and being surprised at what they didn’t know. Of course, when you look over the vast numbers of folk who make up “Church” you realized diversity takes on a huge meaning.

For one thing, I am grappling with the way we communicate. Why does it work for some but not others? If we are going to be helpful to each other in our walks to the Lord and eternity, we need to be more expansive and creative in the ways we talk to each other, literally and figuratively speaking.

How familiar is this little piece of dialogue? “I told you that a week ago!” “No, you didn’t.”

Somewhere along the line I remember someone telling me the way you communicate something is, “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them.” Another gem was that if you really want someone to hear/know something, you have to repeat it eight times. (This the point where I think to myself, “I’m getting too old for this.”)

From a pastor’s point of view, preaching the gospel is the essence of what we do. So, if we are not mastering the various ways we communicate the gospel, we’ve got trouble.

I understand that there also needs to be someone there to hear what you are trying to say. SO, we invite people to shift into their “listening gear.” Before every homily you hear me say, ”Please ask God to help me preach and ask Him to help us hear what He is saying, whether I say it or not.”

Listening is much harder than talking. AND, not just listening in the sense that you’re waiting for someone else to shut up so you can talk again, but listening in the sense of really hearing what someone is saying. My sense is that during our Synod session on November 14th many of you really listened.

It was a good idea to have just three people at a table. Each person really had to say something, or you’d just be sitting staring at each other. The smaller group also helped people who normally are quiet by nature and don’t say much, have a space to get into the action more easily.

From my point of view, I will try and pay better attention to the things I just mentioned. The goal is your deeper involvement. One of the great blessings we have is being small. As I’ve said before, it’s a joy to know I can talk to all my parishioners every week, instead of being in a rotation that lets me see them once a month. Celebrating His coming, I’m yours

in Jesus,
sign frjim

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