On Thursday of this week, the priests of the Diocese gathered at Our Lady of Peace Parish, Santa Clara for our annual presbyteral assembly to work on the common projects for the year ahead. This year we focused on the upcoming Diocesan Synod 2023 mirroring what Pope Francis has done for the global Church at a local level. The Synodal process is a process of encountering each other and listening to one another, especially those at the periphery of our Church and society. Once we genuinely encounter and listen to each other then we are called to dialogue and discern where the Holy Spirit is calling us to move and minister.


For the year ahead, we are guided by the vision statement: We seek to spiritually and structurally renew the Diocese of San José at all levels (chancery, parish, schools, clergy, religious, laity) to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ.” 


This Diocesan Synod is built upon the four pillars of One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, the marks of the Church itself and the intention is to strategically look at the diocese and its parishes and schools asking where we want to be 10-20 years from now. While there is no impending crisis for us right now, the pandemic has shaken us as an institution, and we must start asking some questions about what we are doing as a church and the way we are doing them. Ought we be doing something different or doing things in different ways?


One of the things we did on Thursday was to dream a little and imagine what we could be like in 5-10 years from now. It was a very enriching experience for all the priests however, we quickly realized that our dreams could never be realized unless we organized ourselves differently and empowered the laity at all levels.


The next stage of the Synod is to engage the leadership of every parish and invite every parishioner to understand the challenges ahead and dream with us naming the highest priority for our Church in the next few years.


The day was very well facilitated, and we gained some great traction about the process of the Synod going forward. To give you a head start, here are the pillars and questions for consultation that we will be engaging you in the next few weeks;


  • One: To embrace and tangibly demonstrate the unity of our Church across the entire Diocese
    • What changes should be implemented so that our clergy, school leaders, staff (parish, school and chancery), lay leaders, members of the faithful and school families operate more collaboratively across all parishes and schools?


  • Holy: To inspire and form the faithful in becoming disciples of Jesus Christ 
    • What can our parishes and schools do to INSPIRE all members of the parish and school communities to desire an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ?
    • What ministries and resources must each parish and school have in order to routinely FORM disciples of Jesus Christ?


  • Catholic: To increase the faithful’s encounter of Santa Clara County’s unique diversity, and to leverage such diversity (ethnic, age, social-economic, etc.) to enrich our local Church 
    • What ministries and resources must our local parishes and schools explore to increase positive encounters with, learning from and appreciation of the diversity in our Catholic community?


  • Apostolic: To become primarily outward-looking in order to evangelize individuals, families and our culture
    • What ministries and resources must our parishes and schools implement to most effectively reach out to: (a) youth, young adults, and young families; (b) those who no longer worship in our parishes; and (c) the disenfranchised?
    • What ministries and resources must our parishes and schools implement to: (a) form and activate the faithful and school families in living Catholic Social Teachings; and (b) collaborate with other parishes and schools to serve those in need?


Over the next month SaintSimon Parish will consult with its leaders in this process and facilitate some listening sessions and we will follow up with surveys for all parishioners to get involved. As the materials get collated and condensed, delegates from every parish and school will join the bishop in an assembly in the last week of January to further discern and propose a new path forward for the bishop to articulate and lead. We will keep you informed about this Synod in the months ahead.


Don’t forget, we have the Parish BBQ tonight and I am looking forward to seeing you there and getting to put a face to the names. Please put a name tag so we can all get to know each other a little better. John Angotti will be playing at the BBQ with many musicians and artists from our community. John will be playing and singing at all Masses this weekend, so invite a friend to join you at Mass, enjoy the music and let’s build up our community of faith.


If you haven’t already done so, participate in the Cash Calendar and support the many causes we get asked throughout the year to support and at the same time get a chance to win back some cash! The first two $1000 drawings are at the BBQ. You can buy raffle tickets here.


Finally, please take time this weekend to remember those that lost their lives just by going to work on September 11, 2001 and those brave firefighters and emergency personnel that risked or lost their lives to save others. Please pray for them, their loved ones and join me in praying for peace in our world. May God’s love live when hate seems to reign and may we bear witness to the cause of peace.


God Bless,


Fr. Brendan