Local Roman Catholic parishes are holding a series of consultations during the month of April inviting people to share their experiences in the church.  

The participants will be invited to take part in a discernment exercise, involving what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell them for the future. 

A series of meetings have been planned for area Francophone parishes. They are: Saint-Grégoire in Vankleek Hill; Saint-Pierre-Apôtre in Hawkesbury; Saint-Jean-Baptiste de L’Orignal; Saint-Eugène; Sainte-Anne-de-Prescott; Saint-Joachim de Chute-à-Blondeau; and Saint Bernardin. 

The meetings have been organized following the announcement by Pope Francis of a Synod inviting the participation of all baptized Catholics. The Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall has offered training sessions to help parishes organize meetings.  

Father Pierre Domerson, parish priest of the l’Unité pastorale du Soleil, and Father Éric Robichaud, parish priest of St-Pierre-Apôtre in Hawkesbury, are encouraging faithful Catholics to participate actively in the Synod.  

“This is a wonderful opportunity to take an enthusiastic look at the pastoral plan for years to come,” Father Domerson said.  

“I hope that this Synod will give the possibility to all and everyone to express themselves freely in relation to their experience of living in the Church and walking in the Church,” said Father Robichaud. 

According to Father Domerson, the process is not so much a question of changing doctrine, but of seeing if things could be done differently.  

At the end of the discussions, a report will be prepared for each parish and a summary will be sent to the archdiocese. 

No meeting is being specifically held at Saint-Grégoire Parish in Vankleek Hill. Parishioners are asked to contact the parish or attend at a meeting at another location.

At Saint-Eugène, the meeting will be held following the 9:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, April 10. The meeting for Saint-Joachim Parish in Chute-à-Blondeau is also on Sunday, April 10, following the 11 a.m. Mass. Sainte-Anne-de-Prescott will have its meeting on Saturday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Centre d’Action.

Two of the meetings will be held on Sunday, April 24. For St-Bernardin Parish, it will take place after the 9:30 a.m. Mass at the community centre. At Saint-Pierre-Apôtre Parish in Hawkesbury, the meeting is at 1 p.m. in the church basement. The final meeting for St-Jean-Baptiste Parish in L’Orignal is at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 1, at 1 p.m., in the gymnasium at École élémentaire catholique St-Jean-Baptiste. 

St. Jude’s, the anglophone parish in Hawkesbury, is not holding a meeting as part of its Synod consultation process. However, a member of the parish has been appointed as a Synod Facilitator. Parishioners who wish to communicate their thoughts about the parish, archdiocese, or greater church, may contact the facilitator through the parish office.