By Jessica Easthope
They’re questions designed to bring about change, some the Church has never asked before. “Who do you think is in charge?” “How can the Church work better with other communities of faith?” And now they’re in digital form.
“They’re going to be asked basic questions that would be asked of any Catholic right now who wants to have a voice,” said Father Joseph Gibino, Vicar for Evangelization and Catechesis.
As the global synod process has gotten underway and parishes have started listening sessions – leaders in the Diocese of Brooklyn are realizing the people they need to reach most are not the regulars.
Sister MaryAnn Seton Lopiccolo, who is leading the diocese’s synod efforts with Father Gibino, says often they’re people who have never come to church and might even feel unwelcome.
“We want to hear from the people who don’t come to the building called the church and from people who don’t feel welcome because those are the voices that are going to change us,” said Sister Maryann, Episcopal Delegate for Religious.
DeSales Media Group, the digital and technology arm of the Diocese that operates NET-TV, has created a digital synod. It starts with videos explaining the topics of the synod, hoping to make people feel like their voices matter – and puts the questions posed during parish listening sessions into an online survey.
“How is it that we can be a more welcoming, a more listening church so we’re using technology to help us listen,” Father Gibino said.
Anyone with an Android, iPhone, laptop or internet connection can scan a QR code or follow a link and participate. A motivation for the digital synod has been the need to reach young people.
“We’ve lost generations of youth, their world is a digital world, everything is online and everyone will have access,” said Sister Maryann.
People can complete the 10-topic survey all at once or in parts and save their answers.
The digital synod is launching on February 27 in time for Lent but the Diocese of Brooklyn is encouraging people to register now online at dioceseofbrooklyn.org/synodsurvey