Synodality &
Beacons of Light

The Archdiocesan pastoral planning initiative Beacons of Light commenced at roughly the same time as Pope Francis announced a Universal Synod on Synodality. These two initiatives (synod and Beacons) are not in competition, but rather are complementary.  If implemented properly, Beacons of Light will lead to a more synodal Church, and the synod itself will provide an explicit opportunity for listening to the Holy Spirit as our Families of Parishes enter into the pastoral planning process.

Many of the themes prevalent in the listening sessions here in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati are being addressed in Beacons of Light.  Notably, synod participants hope for a greater sense of welcome and efforts at hospitality in our parishes.  Through the Pastoral Planning Pathway, Families of Parishes will be explicitly invited to consider how to welcome one another, and to continue welcoming all those who seek the face of the Lord in worship, formation, and service.

Synod participants called out the need for more engagement of young adults, especially the parents of young children.  One of the explicit aims of Beacons of Light is to strengthen the domestic church, the family, which will also strengthen parish communities.  A focal point of our Evangelization efforts in the coming years (one of the 6 foundational principles in pastoral planning) will be engaging all young adults in vocational discernment, as well as in forming parents for their crucial role in leading the domestic church.

Finally, synod participants want to see more collaboration and communication among pastors and parish leaders.  Another one of the 6 guiding principles of Beacons of Light is Leadership.  Pastors, parochial vicars, deacons and lay ministers all share responsibility for pastoral leadership. Thus, efforts in pastoral planning even as soon as Phase 1 will focus on developing parish leaders, forming a leadership team for each Family of Parishes, and the development of pastoral councils for each Family.  With clergy and lay leaders serving together in a spirit of genuine listening and openness to the Spirit of Jesus, our Families of Parishes can best build up the Kingdom of God here in southwest Ohio. 

Families of Parishes will be invited to consider the results of the local listening sessions, and the work of the synod at the global level, as they undertake pastoral planning in the coming years.  As we all continue to listen together to the Holy Spirit, let us continue to radiate the love of Christ!

Journeying Together

Read more about synodality and Beacons of Light in Journeying Together: Theological Foundations of Beacons of Light