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The Listening Parish A Guidebook to Synodality Practices in a Faith Community

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The Listening Parish
A Guidebook to Synodality Practices in a Faith Community
$24.00 - $28.80
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For buyers in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere in Europe, you have multiple buying options. First, it is available as a downloadable eResource (see link below). Second, we can generally deliver orders of three or more copies to you with bulk pricing (please contact us for more information). Third, this book should be available through your local Amazon website.

A practical, extensive guidebook for leading today's parish! • Also available as reproducible eResource

Synodality is a style; it is a walk together, and it is what the Lord expects from the Church of the third millennium. 

—Pope Francis, November 29, 2019

A synodal Church is a Church that listens, which realizes that listening is more than simply hearing. It is mutual listening in which everyone has something to learn. The faithful people, the college of bishops, the bishop of Rome all listening to each other, all listening to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.

—Pope Francis, October 17, 2015

Pope Francis has invited the universal Church to embrace an ancient approach and walk the path toward synodality. In fact, he calls for every parish to use synodality practices. But what would that look like in practice?

Michael Papesh shares his decades of experience in ministry, parish, and diocesan leadership to explore how synodality practices can be applied to all aspects of parish leadership and enliven your community. 

Most chapters are two pages long for easy use in parish meetings. The digital "eResource" edition is licensed for use within a parish or diocesan office, allowing you to easily email or print one or more of these handouts for your leadership teams.

The chapters:

  1. Introduction
    1. Using This Guidebook
    2. On Being Family
    3. Assumptions Exposed
  2. Considering Synodality
    1. What is the Call About?
    2. Reflection Questions
    3. What is Synodality?
    4. A Case Study
    5. A Dynamic Model of Church
    6. Co-Responsibility & Respect
    7. Beliefs Grounding Synodality
    8. What Synodality is Not
    9. Thought-Provoking Images
  3. The Synodal Path for the Parish
    1. Probing Practices Questions
    2. Parish Practices for the Journey
  4. Church Structure
    1. The Diocese
    2. Parish Civil Law Status
    3. Parish and Leadership Variation
  5. The Pastor
    1. The Parish and the Pastor
    2. What Pastoring Requires
    3. One Among Man
    4. Reflections for a Pastor
  6. Council Basics
    1. Parish Councils in Law
    2. The Councils’ Mission
    3. Planning and the Pastoral Council
    4. Planning and the Finance Council
    5. Council Election & Eligibility
  7. Council Meetings
    1. Effective Council Meetings
    2. The Place of Confidentiality
    3. Meeting Agendas
    4. Meeting Mechanics
    5. Meeting Facilitation
    6. Who Chairs the Meeting?
  8. Discernment Decision-Making
    1. Discerning Together
    2. A Sample Discernment Process
    3. Further Reflections
  9. The Ministry Staff
    1. Staff Titles
    2. Decision-Making
    3. Communion in Co-Pastoring
    4. Commissions & Decision-Making
    5. Administrative Staff
  10. Parishes with Schools
    1. School As Parish Ministry
    2. The School Principal
    3. School Ministry Governance
  11. Just Employment Practices
    1. Synodality and Just Employment
    2. Covenant Ministry
    3. Ministry Planning & Review
    4. Covenant Hiring
    5. Just Compensation
    6. Just Termination
  12. Building a Parish Assembly
    1. Engaging the Parish Assembly
    2. Two Annual Reports
    3. A Sample Data Gathering
  13. Moving Toward the Peripheries
    1. Opening to the Peripheries
    2. Responding to the Peripheries
    3. A Large Group Listening Process
  14. A Sample Pastoral Planning Process
    1. Process Outline
    2. Step 1: Parish Sense of Self
    3. Sample Beliefs Statements
    4. Step 2: Parish Image
    5. Sample Organization Charts
    6. Step 3: Parish Direction
    7. Sample Goals & Objectives
    8. Steps 4-8. Parish Accomplishment
  15. Parish Synodality in Practice
    1. Living the Spirit of Synodality
    2. Some Limits
    3. Participating in God’s Family Life

Product Preview

Format: Paperback book
Product code: PC201
Dimensions: 8½" x 11"
Length: 166 pages
The Pastoral Center
ISBN: 9781949628296
1-2 copies $28.80 each
3-9 copies $27.20 each
10-49 copies $25.60 each
50-99 copies $24.96 each
100+ copies $24.00 each
Written by Michael L. Papesh


MICHAEL L. PAPESH was ordained in 1983 and is now retired from active ministry. He has served as campus minister, parochial vicar, weekend assistant, principal, CRE, and pastor; in seminary spiritual formation at the undergraduate and graduate school levels; on numerous diocesan committees and boards related to priestly life and ministry; and in diocesan chancery ministry.

He has a B.A. in English from St. Meinrad College, master's degrees from Indiana University and St. Meinrad School of Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. He is also the author of Clerical Culture: Contradiction and Transformation from Liturgical Press and Good News Parish Leadership from Twenty-Third Publications, as well as articles on clerical culture and liturgical presiding. He has won two Catholic Press Association Awards. Papesh has also won four literary awards after publishing two memoirs.

View all resources by Michael L. Papesh