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Templates for Types of Gatherings

Template I: Series of Gatherings
Template II: Multi-topic Gathering

Template I:  Series of Gatherings

This template is for use of a gathering that plans to hold a series of meetings, or for identifying a specific topic, one for each of the scheduled meetings.

  1. Welcome and Introduction of program (10 minutes)
  • Call the gathering to order and welcome all.
  • In a small group gathering, have each person introduce him or herself.
  • Provide a brief overview of the plan for the meeting (if this is the first gathering more “process” will need to be described than at subsequent gatherings)
  • Distribute handouts if needed
  1. Opening Prayer (5 minutes)
  1. Identify the focus of this gathering.
  1. Small group discussions  (1 hour)
  • If the size of the gathering is larger, people should divide up into discussion groups at tables or in designated spaces. Within each grouping engage in conversation using the Discussion Guide as stimulus.  It is recommended that there be a conversation facilitator and scribe.
  • If the group is small enough, dividing up is not necessary.
  • The organizer cannot keep track of everything. So a scribe is suggested, someone who will keep a record of the stories shared and the salient conclusions or recommendations of the group.  Scribes should turn in these notes to the organizers of the gathering (who will submit them to CCR Int’l).
  • The dialogue facilitator will ensure that all participants are heard from and that the discussion follows the general framework of the outline. 
  1. Break (optional)
  1. Large group sharing (30 minutes)
  • At the agreed upon time, the gathering will reconvene and share the salient points from their group discussions so that a “sense of the whole” is shared. 
  • Keeping in mind that the primary goal is to recommend solutions regarding the issues related to the lived experiences of the participants and the connect or disconnect with Church teachings. State the recommendations reached by the group in the report. If there is a difference of opinions, indicate that as well.
  1. Action planning and follow-up (15 minutes)
  • Reminder about next gathering (assuming there will be a gathering).
  • Remind participants to check CCR Int’l website updates.
  • Are there any local actions that have been suggested or stimulated by today’s discussions?

Template II:  Multi-topic Gathering

This template is for use for one longer (all-day) session, where all topics will be addressed in one gathering. Any adaptation needed to suit local circumstances is encouraged by using parts of Template I and Template II. Proposed time frame:  9:00 to 5:00.

9:00 – 9:10 Welcome and Introduction of program

  • Call the gathering to order and welcome all.
  • In a small group gathering, have each person introduce him or herself.
  • Provide a brief overview of the plan for the meeting
  • Distribute handouts if needed

9:10 – 9:25 Opening Prayer 

9:25 – 9:35 Opening presentation  

Describe Pope Francis’s vision of the Church structure as an upside down pyramid with the Faithful at the top feeding Spirit-guided reflections down to their bishops and pastors, who in turn, bring this information to the pope to request what is needed in their diocese. It is a beautiful vision but the challenge is that far too many bishops are not ready to relinquish their power and, consequently, are not inviting the Faithful into dialogue. If this process is to happen, it is up to the People of God to make it happen. That is why we are gathered here.

9:35 – 9:40 Identify to the entire group the focus and the topics of this gathering.

In an all-day gathering, we suggest using the following format:

  • The same topic is discussed by everyone at the same time.
  • Depending on the size of the gathering, people should divide up into discussion groups at tables or in designated spaces.
  • If the group is small enough, dividing up is not necessary.
  • Attendees are encouraged to integrate with different groups throughout the day. For example, this can be arranged by having everyone count off up to the number of groups you plan to have and all of the same number form a group.)

9:40 – 10:40 Small group discussions 

  • Within each grouping engage in conversation using the Discussion Guide as stimulus.  Each group will have a conversation facilitator and scribe.
  • The scribe will keep a record of the salient conclusions or recommendations of the group.  Scribes should turn in these notes to the organizers of the gathering (who will submit them to CCR Int’l by completing the Report Form that will be available on our website).
  • The dialogue facilitator will ensure that all participants are heard from and that the discussion stays on topic and follows the general framework of the Discussion Guide.

10:40 – 11:00 Reconvene with the whole group to share the outcomes of the group discussions.

  • Share stories that may penetrate the minds and hearts of the Synod
  • Focus on arriving at solutions being recommended
  • Scribes are to turn their notes over to the Organizer of the Gathering.

11:00 – 11:10 Break

11:10 – 11:15  Identify to the entire group the focus of the second topic with a brief summary of the possible aspects that could be addressed. 

11:15 – 12:15 Repeat small group discussion, as above.

12:15 – 12:35 Reconvene with the whole group to share the outcomes of the group discussions.

  • Share stories that may penetrate the minds and hearts of the Synod.
  • Focus on arriving at solutions to recommend to the Synod.
  • Scribes are to turn their notes over to the organizer of th Gathering.

12:35 – 1:30 Lunch

1:30 – 1:35 Identify to the entire group the focus of the third topic with a brief summary of the possible aspects that could be addressed. Have extra copies available if needed.

1:35 to 2:35 Repeat small group discussion, as above.

2:35 – 2:55. Reconvene with the whole group to share the outcomes of the group discussions.

  • Share stories that may penetrate the minds and hearts of the Synod.
  • Focus on arriving at solutions being recommended.
  • Scribes are to turn their notes over to the Organizer of the Gathering.

 2:55 – 3:05 Break

3:05 – 3:10 Identify to the entire group the focus of the fourth topic with a brief summary of the possible aspects that could be addressed. 

3:10 – 4:10 Repeat small group discussion, as above.

4:10 – 4:30 Reconvene with the whole group to share the outcomes of the group discussions.

4:30 – 4: 45 Closing Summary

  • Leader should thank all and assure them that their stories and solutions will be delivered to the media, to the Vatican, and to Bishops worldwide.
  • Remind participants to check CCR Int’l website for updates.
  • Mention any pertinent local actions or follow-up  that might be planned.

 4:45 – 5:00 Closing Song and social mingling

 After the Gathering ends
The facilitator submits a report on the Gathering. Using the demographic forms that you had the attendees fill out.

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