Areas of Discernment: The synod will discern the following five challenges in five challenge working groups and answer the respective questions:
I. The challenge to witness to both the beauty and realism of the Catholic vision of marriage and family life
1. How can the local Church of San Diego witness most effectively to both the beauty and the realism of married life and family?
2. Which societal and cultural challenges to marriage are most powerful in our diocese?
3. What steps can parishes take to support the permanence of the commitment of married life?
II. The challenge to form a culture of invitation and hospitality to unmarried couples
1. In the light of the work of the Task Force on Young Adults, what direction should be adopted to deepen the involvement of young adults in the life of the Church?
2. How can our local church truly embody the principle of gradually in reaching out to and supporting couples who are in civil marriages or cohabiting?
3. What practice in our parishes and diocese alienate or frustrate couples seeking to marry in the Church?
4. How can our diocesan and parish efforts to provide effective marriage preparation be enhanced?
5. Is there a realistic pathway to building structures of support for couples after they are married?
III. The challenge to welcome, nurture and form children
1. How can the Church in the Diocese of San Diego more effectively communicate to our people the balanced sense of parenting expressed in The Joy of Love, while also helping parents to turn that balance into reality?
2. What are the principal cultural distortions which limit healthy parenting in Imperial and San Diego Counties?
3. Specifically, how can we as a Church more effectively empower our parents as first teachers in the ways of faith, hope and love?
4. How can the Church better support families in the absence of extended family?
IV. Challenge to provide authentic pastoral support for those who are divorced
1. What are the elements necessary for a robust program of pastoral and spiritual support for those undergoing divorce, both during the process and afterward?
2. How can the diocese make the annulment process more accessible for our people?
3. How should we bring an understanding of the internal forum and conscience to our people, not only regarding the topic of participation for those who are divorced and remarried, but for all Catholics in their moral and spiritual lives?
V. Challenge to bring spiritual depth to family life
1. How can our parishes bring prayer more into the center of family life, with specific attention to the multi-cultural dimensions of this challenge?
2. What steps can our local church take to increase the participation of families at Mass, particularly in their identities as families?
3. What specific steps can the diocese take to build a spirituality of care, consolation, love and realism in our families?
4. How can we promote a substantial spiritual life shared between husbands and wives?
5. What can lead to a spirituality of evangelization and solidarity in family life rather than a spirituality of insularity?
Process: The diocesan synod is the most significant level of dialogue, discernment and decision in the life of the diocese. In a deep spiritual orientation to the wider life of the Church, the synod will embrace:
1. Theological reflection 3. Visioning
2. Pastoral insight 4. Governance