The success of the parish synod session held for members of St. Adalbert and St. Rafael the Archangel was rooted in another event, according to Diane Macias.Children from St. Adalbert and St. Rafael the Archangel parishes, Milwaukee, were invited to participate in the parish synod session by drawing pictures of who God is and what God should do in the world. Above, Jennifer Marquez, when asked what she would want Jesus to do in the world, drew a photo eliminating violence, while below, Fatima Rios described bullying as “illegal.”

“People participated in the Hispanic Eucharistic Congress,” she said, referring to the archdiocesan event held April 20, 2013. “They already had a connection with the archdiocese, and knew the synod was building up the church.”

That connection resulted in more than 900 people from the Milwaukee sister parishes participating in the Nov. 11, 2013 event. That number represented the largest number of participants at any of the parish synod sessions.

With more than 8,500 members, St. Adalbert is one of the 10 largest parishes in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, has the largest Hispanic membership, and the largest young adult membership, according to Mark Kemmeter, director of the archdiocese’s office for planning and councils. St. Rafael has more than 1,700 members. 

Macias, chairperson of the St. Adalbert Parish pastoral council, credited Fr. José Gonzalez, associate pastor of St. Adalbert and St. Rafael, with explaining to parish leadership Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki’s pastoral letter, “Who Do You Say That I Am?” – the groundwork document for the Archdiocesan Synod.

“The synod was well explained by Fr. José to the leaders and the groups,” she said. “They had a good idea about it.”

St. Adalbert, Macias said, has eight groups for women, men, prayer, adoration, youth and marriage, while St. Rafael has four. 

“We have good leaders,” she said. “They were happy to participate. And the teens were happy to have their voices heard.”    

District 14 gathering bilingual

Delegates selected by their parishes in District 14 of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee will participate in a bilingual synod gathering, Saturday, Feb. 22, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Milwaukee. 

The following Milwaukee parishes comprise District 14: Congregation of the Great Spirit; Our Lady of Guadalupe; Prince of Peace/Principe de Paz; St. Adalbert; St. Anthony; SS. Cyril and Methodius; St. Hyacinth; St. Josaphat Basilica; St. Mary Magdalen; St. Maximilian Kolbe; St. Michael/Ukrainian; St. Patrick; St. Rafael the Archangel; St. Stanislaus; and St. Vincent de Paul.

For further information about district gatherings, contact Randy Nohl at (414) 758-2216 or 

Even children participated. They were invited to draw pictures and talk about who God is, what God should do in the world, and what the church should do. 

One parishioner, Clara Hernandez, studied the pastoral with 11 inmates at the Racine Correctional Facility. She led six of them through the synod discussion process.

According to Macias, they told Hernandez, “Be sure to let the archbishop know what we think.”

Fr. José said that most of the people in the parish come from Mexico and South America, and “have a different experience of church.”

“You mention the bishop and that excites them. In Mexico, that is the experience with their parishes,” he said, adding that there the “whole local church is renewed.”

Fr. José noted that if the priest is motivated, the parishioners will be motivated.

“People remember experience of being attracted to something bigger than them,” he said.

In announcing the parish session at all Masses, Fr. José asked all members to pray for the parishes and for the archdiocese. 

“We asked for the prayers of different groups, too,” he said.

 Macias said Fr. José’s invitations were key to the response the session received.

“When the priests reach out and invite people, people feel a sense of belonging,” she said. “We feel (we’re) a part of the church.”

Fr. José noted the dedication of participants that went into the parish session, which had 44 group facilitators.

“There was a lot of process of discernment and prayer,” he said, “and a lot of people motivated and excited. We took the opportunity to review ourselves, too.”

The priest hopes there is another outcome, too.

“What I really want is for people to take ownership of the local parish, but to see we are connected to the archdiocese,” he said, referring to the parish’s commitment to ministry, new evangelization and stewardship. “People are looking into our own parish and the archdiocese.”