“Actions speak louder than words” resonates more today than ever before. We have been tested by many challenges and our parishioners and communities have voiced their concerns. We have listened and are taking action. With open minds we are learning to better serve the needs of our communities through education, human services, and physical and spiritual wellness. And we’re leading the way on a journey where all can build a meaningful and fulfilling relationship with Christ.

The Work of Listening and Learning

Within the Catholic Church, active listening and ongoing learning are sacred duties. We must listen to many perspectives, adapt to the evolving world around us, and foster a culture of faith.

In 2021, Pope Francis announced the Synod on Synodality, a process aimed at bringing communities together to share, listen, and engage with one another. This bold initiative encourages Catholics worldwide to collaborate on topics ranging from evangelization to social justice. Pope Francis called on all dioceses to put a synod process in place to determine what we can build upon to make our world a better place.

Face to Face, Parish by Parish

The Bishop of Fall River has been proactive in ensuring our parishes are doing their part to follow the Pope’s initiative. As part of the Diocesan Phase, dioceses in the US were called upon to conduct synodal sessions at the parish level and submit a diocese report to the US Council of Bishops. A national report was then created and forwarded to Rome. This isn’t a one-time proposal. It’s an ongoing process committed to transparency, accountability, and shared responsibility. In October 2023 Pope Francis commences the next phase of the Synod – The Universal Phase of the Synod in Rome.

Learning for Today and Tomorrow

Another international initiative is World Youth Day. The event brings together young people from around the world to participate in religious activities with the hope of bringing more youths back to the Church. Our Fall River evangelization team recently returned from the event in Portugal. As we know from this and other interactions with young people, authentic communication is important. It’s our job to listen to feedback and consider implementing what we hear. If you don’t make things happen, or at least respond, people think you aren’t listening.

Lastly, I want to encourage everyone to check out the Bishop’s Blog – Building Faith. It’s a chance to hear from him in an unofficial, personal way. The blog has opened the curtain on what’s happening in his life. We can learn more about his family and experiences, such as the takeaways he got from attending 2023’s World Youth Day. The bishop serves on countless committees and councils and plays an active role in working to make the community a more united front. Check back regularly to see what’s next on the bishop’s agenda.

Laura Carrillo
Laura Carrillo
Director of Strategic and Pastoral Planning