In response to the Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on the Synod of the Family, the Diocese of San Diego hosted a diocesan synod.
The process included parish listening sessions to grasp challenges facing parishioners and aspirations for a more welcoming and merciful Church. Coming together, clergy and a majority of laity, theologians and people from the pews, concrete actions emulated, including a reorganization of the Office for Marriage and Family Life to the Office for Family Life and Spirituality with ensuing programs. A realization of the messiness of family life for divorced and separated, deported and deployed, traditional and marginalized family units and the need to serve all their spiritual needs.
Cognizant of the need for heartfelt prayers of the faithful addressing parishioners' yearnings and not just using canned prayers from liturgical planning guides, the synod initiatives encouraged opportunities to build community by addressing parish needs, develop new leaders, create family friendly liturgies. They prioritized a process to meet people where they are and not to proclaim a status of perfection. (https://www.sdcatholic.org/office-for/family-life-and-spirituality/synod-on-the-family/implementations/)
The Diocese has no fee for annulments (https://www.sdcatholic.org/office-for/family-life-and-spirituality/separated-or-divorced/) compared to next door in the Diocese of Orange with an annulment website detailing a range of fees starting with $700, non-refundable deposits to initiate the process in bold type, and payment plans for those unable to pay in full.
Building upon their family synod's foundation, the Diocese of San Diego is preparing for a synod on young adults to address Pope Francis' Christus Vivit, the apostolic exhortation emulating from the 2018 Synod of Bishops on YoungPeople. Themes discussed will mirror topics articulated by the Pope. This is an opportunity once again for the Diocese to San Diego to listen at the parish level and come together as Church, clergy and laity, to hear the many voices reflecting on a challenging and defining topic for the Church in contemporary times. This is an opportunity to define concrete actions to lead by example the possibilities for Church to be relevant, vibrant and inclusive.