"we have determined that the time is ripe for setting forth a vision of the future and determining the priorities that will move us forward."Sounds pretty much like the numerous rounds of planning we've undergone over recent decades.
Bishop Hying expects this reaction in a column in our Archdiocesan weekly,
"we have all gone through experiences of brainstorming, processing and planning that, when all was said and done, accomplished very little. It may be tempting to think that this upcoming synod is just another example of the same old thing. I don’t think it will be."So he has hope. But what is the reason for his hope? Has our Archdiocesan curia done an extensive analysis of the failures of the prior approach, and made changes based on what was learned? No, we'll do the same thing over again, but this time there will be a different result.
"The Holy Spirit is going to powerfully work through our reading, gathering, conversing and praying about the person of Jesus and the gift of his holy, amazing church. Out of those conversations will emerge ideas, priorities and hopes that will converge into a coherent vision for the future, fired and honed at the synod gathering next Pentecost."He does not, however, explain why the Holy Spirit was absent during all the prior rounds of planning but will show up this time.
The most recent prior Archdiocesan Synod, in 1987, goes all but unmentioned in the materials for the upcoming one. Six years ago, in connection with a then-upcoming round of planning, Archbishop Dolan asked
"Can we continue the mushrooming of central office services that began 15 years ago after the archdiocesan synod?"In the absence of anyone mentioning anything else it accomplished, it appears the Holy Spirit also missed the 1987 Synod.
As I type this, I have before me what appears to be Archbishop Weakland's "My Response to the Top Seven Recommendations...from Synod 1987". Why don't they just change the year to 2014 and recycle these?
P.S. "An Archdiocese of Washington Catholic" posted on What will the Synod bring to us, Cardinal Wuerl having there convoked a synod, also to be held on Pentcost 2014. While AWC wonders if this means parish closings, those can be accomplished under the ordinary name of "planning". Maybe diocesan synods are a fad, like when locally a sudden need for parishes to add "community rooms" arose around the turn of the millennium.