BOONE — In May 2021, Pope Francis announced the convocation of the Synod, a process by which he seeks input from the laity about their hopes and dreams for the future of the church, will run from October 2021 to October 2023.

In the spirit of unity, a group of Catholics of the High Country invites all Catholics to join in sharing and relaying all ideas to take part in this important movement.

The synodal review process will take place in three phases: a local phase at the diocesan and parish level, a continental phase engaging bishops’ conferences around the world and a universal phase. In this last phase, bishops and laypeople will convene in Rome to discuss the findings and topics from the first two phases.

Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmeyer, OFM, of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta — which includes the Charlotte Diocese — will celebrate Mass to open the Synod process on Sunday, Oct. 17, at 10:30 a.m., according to former parishioner of St. Elizabeth’s Karen James. The Archdiocese of Atlanta will livestream the event on its website and its Facebook page.

In North Carolina, Bishop Peter Jugis of the Charlotte Diocese has announced that he will celebrate Mass in tandem with the start of the Synod. Bishop Jugis’s Mass will begin at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick Cathedral in Charlotte. It will be livestreamed to the Charlotte Diocese’s YouTube channel and the Facebook page for High Country Catholics.

It is unclear whether the Charlotte Diocese, St. Elizabeth of the Hill Country Catholic Church in Boone or its mission church, Church of the Epiphany in Blowing Rock, will be offering the mini-Synods or listening sessions as prescribed by Pope Francis, according to James. The Charlotte Diocese and St. Elizabeths of the Hill Country have not responded to multiple requests for comment.

James said they are planning in-person and Zoom listening sessions to begin in early November. Volunteers for facilitation/leading and note-taking are needed for each session. For more information or to volunteer to help, email at jpaul_60@hotmail.com. More information will be available soon.

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