TOOLKIT FOR FACILITATING SYNODAL ENCOUNTERS ON EUCHARISTIC RENEWAL

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2022


DOWNLOAD THE TOOLKIT:

Click here to download the Toolkit (PDF)

USE THE LINKS BELOW TO NAVIGATE THIS PAGE:

GETTING STARTED


THANK YOU FOR LEADING YOUR DEANERY IN PLANNING AND COORDINATING ASSEMBLY 2022.

As you begin to plan this event, the Archdiocese will provide tools and resources needed to make your planning as easy and smooth as possible. Visit this website often for updates.
Please know that the content of this Toolkit serves as recommendations, suggestions, and options for your Assembly. These recommendations are not mandates but possibilities that you may find useful in your planning. Please take what helps you and adjust the recommendations accordingly as you adapt our suggestions for your community.

Back to Top


FORMING A PLANNING COMMITTEE

It is recommended that deans form an Assembly Planning Committee who will take the lead on planning Assembly 2022. Deans may meet with their deanery priests to determine the best course of action for creating a planning committee. As each parish has leaders who excel in event planning, deans may ask their deanery priests to delegate their respective parish leaders for this Assembly committee.

Assembly 2022 may be planned comparable to the way a pastor plans their annual parish festival. Usually, parishes have a festival committee composed of parish leaders with experience coordinating large events. Deans may meet with their deanery priests to outline the need for a planning committee and ask them to delegate a few parish leaders from their respective parishes. Each parish in the deanery has parish leaders who can take the lead in different areas of planning.

Deanery priests are encouraged to tap into the talents and experience of parish leaders who have planned large parish events in the past or have a specialized set of skills needed for event coordination. With each pastor in the deanery delegating a few key parish leaders to serve on the Assembly planning committee, the dean will have formed a committee that represents each parish in the deanery.

Back to Top


PARTICIPATION OF OUR BISHOPS

Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, M.Sp.S., Auxiliary Bishop Mike Boulette, D.D., and Auxiliary Bishop Gary Janak, J.C.L., want to start each deanery’s Assembly with you. They will participate virtually at all Assemblies via YouTube. Their participation will begin at 9:00 AM and last approximately 15–20 minutes. The bishops will go live on the  Archdiocese of San Antonio YouTube channel with a special message for attendees. You can access the YouTube channel here: Archdiocese of San Antonio – YouTube

Deans are asked to prepare an Assembly schedule of the day that accommodates this joint message from the bishops. Dean should also ensure that attendees are gathered in a large meeting space that can accommodate the entire number of attendees. This space should have a large screen, projector, sound system, and laptop with strong WiFi connectivity to ensure that attendees can see and hear the bishops’ message. After their joint address, the bishops will celebrate a Mass at the Pastoral Ministry Center for the intentions of the deans, pastors, and attendees as your deanery continues its schedule of the day.

Back to Top


PLANNING AREAS DEFINED


EnvironmentThe way a venue is prepared, decorated, and/or enhanced to give the attendees an enjoyable experience that reflects the theme of the day.
Small Group FacilitationMethods used to facilitate a table conversation with a small group of attendees during specified times
HospitalityThe manner in which guests are welcomed throughout the event, encompassing not only the welcoming environment but also food, beverages, and other accommodations provided to attendees throughout the event
LiturgyThe Mass or other rituals that follow established Roman Catholic rubrics for its preparation and execution.
LogisticsThe detailed organization and implementation of plans to manage an event from the point of origin to its completion
ProductionThe way an event moves from one activity to the next activity, including timing, flow, and communication to attendees
PromotionThe strategies implemented in the marketing of an event using the collateral pieces developed by publication
PublicationMarketing collateral created to be used in promotions
RegistrationThe process by which potential attendees register for an event
TechnologyInformation technology solutions needed and implemented to coordinate the success of an event
Volunteer CoordinationThe methods used to recruit, train, and coordinate volunteers in needed areas to make the event successful

Back to Top


COMPONENTS OF ASSEMBLY

Assembly should be adapted to fit your community. In previous years coordinating Assembly, we have found success incorporating many of the following components. These are all options that you may consider for your Assembly. To use an analogy of meal preparation:

YOU MAY USE THIS LIST AS A MENU FROM WHICH YOU CAN SELECT THE ITEMS YOUR COMMUNITY WOULD LIKE TO ENJOY AT ASSEMBLY.

MASS

Mass is highly encouraged for your Assembly. Gathering attendees at the Eucharistic banquet is a pivotal part of our faith that expresses our communion with one another. Mass at Assembly may be celebrated by the dean or the pastor of the parish venue with other pastors in the deanery concelebrating.

Depending on your schedule of the day, you may choose to celebrate Mass in the morning or in the early afternoon. You may also decide to utilize one of the regular Masses on your parish venue’s schedule as the Mass for Assembly. However, the schedule of the day for Assembly should be created to ensure that each pastor in the deanery is able to return to their home parish to celebrate their regular vigil Mass on Saturday, November 5.

RECONCILIATION

If you decide to hold reconciliation, consider inviting the priests of your deanery to serve as confessors. The length of time for reconciliation will depend on the amount of attendees at Assembly. We recommend ensuring that adequate space exists for multiple confessions to occur at the same time. In addition to the regular parish confessional, make-shift confessionals can be as simple as two chairs under a tree on the parish grounds.

ADORATION

Adoration encourages silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Eucharistic exposition and reposition should be performed by an ordained priest or deacon. You may choose to have a Holy Hour or a shorter length of time for adoration. If you decide to close adoration with Eucharistic benediction, an ordained priest will be needed to perform benediction.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

A keynote speaker may serve as the main address of Assembly. Many conferences incorporate a keynote speaker who will give the primary talk focused on the theme of the day. A universal keynote speaker has been contracted for the Archdiocese and the recorded presentation will be made available to all deaneries. They will speak on the theme “Blessed, Broken, and Shared.”

More information and details will be forthcoming. You can incorporate this presentation as you see fit during the day of Assembly as it will be a focal moment for that sets the direction for later dialogues and small group discussion.

BREAKOUT SPEAKERS

Breakout speakers are more than one speaker who follow or precede the keynote speaker but give their respective addresses at the same time. In this format, attendees may choose which breakout speaker they prefer to hear, depending on the focus of their talk. Breakout speakers may speak about a different aspect of the main Assembly theme in their breakout talk. For example, one possible topic for a breakout speaker might be “Family and the Eucharistic Table” as this theme serves as a particular aspect of the main theme “Blessed, Broken, and Shared.”

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS

Small group discussions allow attendees to discuss what they have experienced, what they have heard, and listen to one another’s perspective. As small group discussions provide an opportunity for attendees to express themselves to others, they serve as a pivotal part of processing the information and experience of Assembly.

Small group discussions are the main component of Synodal discussions in the Synod on Synodality. We encourage small group discussions as a way to continue Synodality within your deanery. For more information on Synodality, please visit  our Synodality website.

VENDORS AND EXHIBITORS

Assembly offers the opportunity to gather local artists, small businesses, and other Catholic organizations to showcase their creativity, products, and mission for the community. In previous Assemblies, the Archdiocese has solicited booths for local Catholic vendors to rent and sell items to attendees. The Archdiocese has also invited Catholic organizations to have a booth to showcase their mission and ways attendees can join their group or volunteer their time in upcoming initiatives. If you decided to incorporate vendors and exhibitors in Assembly, please allot time in the schedule of the day for attendees to peruse the area and talk to these organizations.

BREAKFAST OR LUNCH

Depending on your schedule, you may consider providing light breakfast in the morning during the times of attendee check-in or some other suitable time. Breakfast items may be as simple as coffee and doughnuts, fruit and pastries, orange juice and water.

If you decide to incorporate lunch into your schedule, we recommend that lunch occurs between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM to ensure that attendees to do remain hungry during the event. Lunch may be catered from a local restaurant. For example, sandwich box lunches from Jason’s Deli. Lunch may also be provided by parishioner volunteers as a potluck style lunch.

Back to Top


SCHEDULE OF THE DAY

We ask you to host your deanery Assembly on Saturday, November 5, 2022 as a sign of communion with the Archbishop and the other deaneries of the Archdiocese. The schedule of the day for your Assembly may be created according to your community’s preference. Incorporate as many different Components of Assembly for attendees as you wish. With a full-day schedule, you have the flexibility to plan time for transitions between activities, prayerful reflection, multiple breakout sessions, and multiple small group discussions. Additionally, a full-day schedule will accommodate parishioners who may only be able to attend in the morning or the afternoon. In this model, they will be able to attend part, if not all, of your deanery Assembly.

Ideally, Assembly will begin in the morning and end in the late afternoon, with enough time for attendees and priests to return to their home parishes to attend or celebrate the Saturday evening vigil Mass. No parish is asked to cancel any regularly scheduled Masses at their parish.

SAMPLE SCHEDULE

Time

Activity

Location

Duration

AM

7:30

Volunteers and/or staff arrive to set up

90 mins.

9:00

Bishops will virtually greet all participants

Church

15 mins.

9:15

Mass

Church

60 mins.

10:15

Keynote Speaker

Church

30 mins.

10:45

Break/Transition

15 mins.

11:00

Small Group Discussions # 1

Hall

30 mins

11:30

Lunch

Hall

45 mins.

PM

12:15

Breakout Speakers

Classrooms

30 mins.

12:45

Transition

10 mins.

12:55

Small Group Discussions # 2

Hall

30 mins.

1:25

Transition

10 mins.

1:35

Holy Hour + Reconciliation

Church

60 mins.

2:35

Break

10 mins.

2:45

Summary of the Day / Theme – Q&A

Church

30 mins.

3:15

Closing / Acknowledgments

Church

15 mins.

3:30

End of Day

Back to Top


VENUE CONSIDERATIONS

When selecting a venue for Assembly 2022, we recommend choosing one of the parishes in your deanery that has the best accommodations for your needs. There are many factors to consider when selecting a venue and a comprehensive assessment of the venue is important. We recommend conducting a site visit to several possible venues to determine which one will best suit your needs.

BELOW ARE SOME OF THE FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN SELECTING A VENUE.

FACILITIES

Take into account the various facilities that are available at the venue. Consider all aspects of facilities, including capacity for each area, a large activity room, smaller conference rooms, bathrooms for men and women, and also take note of the acoustics or the lighting of each area. One of the most important factors is to ensure that the air-conditioning and/or heating is working properly, effective, and the overall in good condition. Depending on your unique schedule of the day, you may also need to look for specific features. This will vary from deanery to deanery. Make a careful note of all that you need before visiting venues.

RESOURCES

Venues will vary in the resources they are able to provide for your Assembly. Check every resource from chairs and tables to microphones, projectors, screens, tablecloths, and even chair covers if required. The keynote address may required closely positioned upright chairs in theater layout while small group discussions and lunch would warrant a round table arrangement. There should be enough resources to cater to attendees properly based on the schedule of the day. We recommend that your  Assembly Planning Committee audit the resources carefully and organize any elements that are missing.

LAYOUT

Based on the schedule of the day and activities you have planned, you will need to have a rough idea of what types of activities you’ll be including, the amenities you’ll require, and the needs of your team and the attendees. While narrowing down your selection, get an illustrated floor plan of each venue, and walk through your favorites at least once, making note of important things such as where the outlets are and where AV equipment is or can be located.

The layout and floor plan will greatly affect a few different aspects of your Assembly, including the flow of traffic and event activities. Think about the flow of traffic through your schedule. The kind of flow you’ll want will be different for each Assembly. What areas will be high traffic at the event? Registration? The doors of each building? Keep this in mind when choosing your venue, realizing that how you setup the tables and decor will greatly affect this as well.

PARKING

Parking plays a vital role in the success of your Assembly. Parking must be adequate for the number of guests you anticipate welcoming to your selected venue. If the parking lot does not accommodate for the number of guests you expect, alternative parking plans must be implemented. For example, you may consider selecting an alternative location for attendees to park and then coordinate a shuttle or bus to drive attendees to the venue. Another option would be to encourage carpooling among attendees. Another option would be to coordinate with Uber and Lyft, companies that often provide a credit to new users. You can work with them to set this up and let your attendees know the new user discount code and encourage them to carpool.

ACCESSIBILITY

Accessibility refers to the possibility that everyone, especially those with special needs, can access the building and its amenities. Consider the age and demographic of your anticipated attendees and foresee the needs they might have. Ensure the venue is ADA compliant and has ramps, elevators, and other means for those in wheelchairs or who have mobile limitations. Also, consider deaf attendees who may need ASL interpreters, women who are nursing and need nursing rooms or diaper changing tables in the restrooms, and veterans who may need special accommodations due to a disability.

OTHER EVENTS

There can be events already scheduled before or after your Assembly as well. Carefully note all of these and check if there is any way that it can affect the efficiency or the success of your Assembly. For example, if there are two events simultaneously, are their enough parking space or resources to cater for two events at the same time? Moreover, if there is an event a day before, how soon can you get the venue to set it up? All of these are important considerations that impact the overall planning and coordination of your Assembly.

Back to Top


REGISTRATION

You may decide that you want to use a registration process. Registration may be used for a variety of reasons. Registration will allow you to gauge the number of participants planning to attend your Assembly. Registration may also be a way to collect payment from attendees if you choose to charge an admission fee to offset costs.

PROCESS

Attendees want the registration process to be as quick and efficient as possible. If you or a member of your planning committee finds the process more difficult than expected, your attendees will likely feel the same way. Keep the number of pages and forms to click through to a minimum. Consider what information is truly essential for you during the registration process and what can be collected later. Some of the information you may want to collect includes:

• Name
• Email
• Parish
• Phone Number
• Dietary needs (if you are providing meals)
• Accessibility Needs
• Payment (if you are charging a fee

FEATURES TO CONSIDER

With so many choices in event registration software, it is easy to get caught up in many features and the latest tools regardless of whether they work for your event or if they will even be utilized at all. We recommend making a list of those features that you need to employ in your registration process and add those that you would like to include to streamline the process. Some features that are available include the following:

• Event Online Registration
• Event Onsite Registration
• Attendee Group Registration
• Attendee Self Check-In
• Event Payment Processing
• Attendee Management and Reports
• Attendee Badge Creation and Management
• Registration for Individual Sessions

SUGGESTED PLATFORMS

Some registration platforms that you can use are free on the basic level but may cost a subscription fee based on upgrading to advanced features. Some online options for creating a registration form include:


QUESTIONS REGARDING REGISTRATION? CONTACT:

Michael Bossaller | Phone: 210-734-1673 | Email Michael

Back to Top


HOSPITALITY

Hospitality is defined as the manner in which guests are welcomed throughout the event. Hospitality encompasses not only the welcoming environment but also food, beverages, and other accommodations provided to attendees throughout the event. We recommend insuring that you have welcoming greeters at each entrance who are knowledgeable with the schedule of the day and the campus map so that they can assist attendees who may have questions upon arrival. Hospitality also encompasses any materials you will distribute to attendees. For example, materials you may consider distributing to attendees at check-in include a campus map, a schedule of the day, a prayer card to remind them of the theme, and more.

The environment is a key component for a hospitable experience across each area of the venue. The rooms where attendees will frequent must be cleaned and organized, possibly decorated with elements that reflect the theme of Assembly. Bathrooms, kitchens, and other utility areas should be clean, organized, and ready for use. If attendees receive items upon checking in, the presentation of these items is very important as it adds to the attendee experience. Possible items that attendees might receive include a schedule of the day, a campus map, a blank notebook and pen for notetaking, a prayer card, rosary, or other sacramental.

Food plays an important role in hospitality. If attendees will be arriving early in the morning, coffee, water, and some type of breakfast items are recommended. Pastries, fruit trays, and tacos all make attendees feel welcomed to the event. Lunch meals are equally as important with attendees often hungry by lunch time and needing something to sustain them for the rest of the day. The presentation of these items is also important. Food and beverages must be presented in a clean and orderly way. A table may be set up to strategically place food and beverages in a self-serve manner. Alternatively, you may assign volunteers to serve items to attendees as an added element of hospitality.

Possible catering options may include:


QUESTIONS REGARDING HOSPITALITY? CONTACT:

Rebecca Villarreal | 210-734-5138 | Email Rebecca
Grace Rodriguez | 210-734-1643 | Email Grace
Jazmin Villamil | 210-734-1650 | Email Jazmin

Back to Top


TECHNOLOGY AND AUDIO-VISUAL (AV) EQUIPMENT

Technology and AV equipment is defined as electronic media devices and equipment that includes both an audio (sound) and a visual (sight) component. AV equipment and components are a necessary part of Assembly because it will be required to play the recorded keynote address prepared and sent by the Archdiocese. Additionally, AV equipment is usually required for other presentations, speakers, music and more. What is considered “AV equipment” will vary from parish to parish, so it is important to consider the unique AV gear and services your Assembly may require beyond a standard AV equipment. For the keynote presentation, we highly encourage a projector, screen, laptop, and connected sound system in a large space for all attendees to experience the address comfortably.

Because technology and the use of audio-visual equipment is important in planning and coordinating your Assembly, we recommend assigning a team member who knows technology, particularly someone who is familiar with the technology at the specific venue. Technology and the use of audio-visual equipment is important in planning and coordinating your Assembly. We recommend assigning a team member who knows technology, particularly someone who is familiar with the technology at the specific venue. Computers, laptops, projectors, projector screens, sounds systems, and microphones are all components of technology and audio-visual equipment. It is also important that WiFi access be available and that the connection is strong at the venue. WiFi bandwidth must be able to support the needs of Assembly, which may include video playback, PowerPoint presentations, multiple speakers on microphones, and more.

Here is a basic checklist of AV equipment with consideration questions you may think about using at your Assembly:

• Microphones: Wired or wireless, lavaliere, table or floor stands?
• In-house lighting: Adjustable in every room? Supplemental lighting needed?
• In-house sound system, or supplemental needed?
• Portable sound system required, or is in-house system sufficient?
• Mixer board(s): How many?
• Electrical supply sufficient, or additional needed?
• Video cameras: How many?
• Desktop or Laptop computers? How many?
• Podium: How many? With or without microphone(s)?
• Two-way radios: Reception capabilities in all areas?
• Projectors: Built-in, or special order?
• Technicians: Camera, lights, sound, projection?
• Screens: What size? How many? What type?

During your initial site visit at your proposed parish venue, we recommend that you confirm the parish’s experience with audio visual events, their in-house AV equipment and capabilities, and their policies and capabilities regarding additional equipment and technology. During your site visit, think about this components:

• Check that the actual room dimensions are suitable for needed AV setup
• Note any space obstructions that may interfere with your setup
• Review AV placement as it relates to event traffic flow
• Test any adjustable house lighting in each room
• Confirm high-speed Internet access and price, if applicable
• Confirm broadband width, satellite capabilities, etc.
• Review list of AV equipment provided by the venue, including:

• Microphone availability, capabilities and types
• House sound system, if any, and capabilities
• Display screen availability and quantity
• Projector availability
• Laptop computer availability and quantity

• Review venue policy regarding a 24-hour hold of the space for AV setup
• Review the in-house security policy regarding AV equipment


QUESTIONS REGARDING AV EQUIPMENT? CONTACT:

Eric Allen | Phone: 210-734-2620 | Email Eric

Back to Top


PUBLICATIONS AND PROMOTION

Publications can be considered as the marketing material created to be used in promotions. Promotion is defined as the strategies implemented in the marketing of Assembly using the material developed by publications. We recommend creating or adapting marketing material to encourage more attendees to participate in your Assembly. The Archdiocese will provide you with templates for these materials that you may use and adapt to fit your community. Publications also include any printed material you will distribute to attendees upon arrival or throughout the day. As previously mentioned, materials you may consider distributing to attendees at Assembly include a campus map, a schedule of the day, a prayer card to remind them of the theme, and other possibilities.

The promotional strategy is entirely up to you. We recommend using the marketing material in a targeted way. For example, posters may be place in all the parishes in your deanery. Social media posts may be used through the social media channels available in the parishes. E-newsletters may be sent out from each parish to targeted contact lists. Contact lists may also be shared and consolidated among respective deaneries to provide a consistent and comprehensive email communication.

Additionally, the Archdiocese will create an Assembly website which will highlight the details of each deanery Assembly. This will be a resource that gives an overview of all the Assemblies in the Archdiocese. For this reason, we ask you to send us your Assembly details when they have been confirmed and are ready for publication online.


QUESTIONS REGARDING PUBLICATIONS AND PROMOTION? CONTACT:

Kathryn Sauceda | 210-734-1981 | Email Kathryn
Ademola Elliotte | 273-7755 | Email Ademola
Jorge Flores | 210-965-8361 | Email Jorge
Daniel Oubre | 210-355-9161 | Email Daniel

Back to Top


SMALL GROUP FACILITATION

Small group facilitation is vital for effective small group discussions. The Holy Spirit has inspired the Universal Church to rediscover the gift of Synodality. It is the blessing of walking together, listening to one another, and assembling again around the table of the Eucharist following the coronavirus pandemic. Our conversations and Synodal listening sessions have allowed us to reach a major milestone, yet we are far from concluding this process. I want to encourage all to keep the momentum alive and continue the Synodal conversation in your movements, groups, parishes, and institutions this time on the topic of primary importance for our identity as Catholics: The Real Presence of Jesus Christ especially as we encounter him in the Sunday Mass celebration.

The following are approaches that enable genuine listening and dialogue: We are invited to speak with authenticity and honesty. Everyone can grow in understanding through dialogue. We can often be resistant to what the Holy Spirit is inspiring us to consider. We are called to set aside attitudes of complacency and comfort. Move forward with the conviction of faith. We are called to be beacons of hope, not prophets of doom. Keep in mind that Synodality is a spiritual process led by the Holy Spirit. We are pilgrims and servants on the path marked out for us by God. Avoid the temptation to focus solely on personal concerns. The Synodal Process is an opportunity to look beyond ourselves and see the needs and concerns of others. Avoid the temptation to only see “problems.” The challenges, difficulties, and hardships facing our world and our Church are many. We can miss the light if we focus only on the darkness. Don’t take any comment personally. Everyone is doing their best given the circumstances. As we proceed along the journey of the Synod, keep in mind that the goal is to discern how God calls us to walk forward together. No one Synodal Process will resolve all our concerns and problems. Remember that Synodality is an attitude and an approach of moving forward in a co-responsible way that is open to welcoming God’s inspiration over time.

Through small group discussions, we will all have the opportunity to experience the joy that comes from meeting with our brothers and sisters in Christ, learn more about each other, and discover, through such an encounter, what God wants from each one of us, our parishes, and organizations here and now.


QUESTIONS REGARDING SMALL GROUP FACILITATION OR DISCUSSIONS? CONTACT:

Amy Hudson | 210-734-1652 | Email Amy
Aarón Castillo | 210-734-1655 | Email Aarón

Back to Top