Delegates to the second session of the Diocesan Synod considered recommendations to build vibrant parishes.

The meeting, at St. Anthony Church in White River Junction Oct. 27, focused on the word “vibrant” and how it is exhibited in parishes: Can we consider that a “vibrant parish” is one that is full of energy and enthusiasm for fostering salvation, both individually and collectively? We also need to identify how that energy and enthusiasm is lived out in parishes. How do we measure vibrancy?  What criteria do we use?

Consideration also was given to a survey for implementing a process to build vibrant parish communities, taking into account the limited availability of priests and recognizing that the presence of priests for more than just the celebration of weekend Mass is essential.

The third recommendation was to investigate new forms of lay and diaconal parish leadership, helping to free priests to focus more on pastoral ministry and less on administration.

Earlier this year Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne announced plans to convene the first Diocesan Synod in Vermont since 1962. Its purpose is to establish a pastoral plan for the immediate future of the Catholic Church in Vermont and to establish particular laws and policies to do so. This is at least a yearlong project and is “a serious undertaking by the Church,” he said.

The third synod session will be Nov. 10 at Immaculate Conception Church in Burlington.

After the synod completes its work, policies, laws and directives to carry out a plan for the future in the Vermont Church will be enacted.