The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) announced Wednesday the names of five parish priests who have been selected to attend a global gathering of 300 priests at the Vatican this spring as part of the ongoing Synod on Synodality.

In a March 20 announcement, the USCCB said the five priests consist of four Latin-rite priests and one Eastern Catholic priest, at the request of the Vatican. 

The five priests include Father Artur Bubnevych, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Byzantine Catholic Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Father Joseph Friend, parochial administrator of three parishes in the Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas; Father Luis Navarro, a canon lawyer and pastor of St. George Church in Stockton, California; Father William Swichtenberg, pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in Appleton, Wisconsin; and Father Donald Planty, a canon lawyer and pastor of St. Charles Catholic Church in Arlington, Virginia. (Planty’s work with young adults at his Arlington parish was recently highlighted on “EWTN News in Depth.”)

The gathering, “Parish Priests for the Synod: An International Meeting,” will be held April 28 to May 2. Announcing the event last month, the Vatican said bishops were asked to give preference to parish priests with “significant experience in the perspective of a synodal Church” while also selecting priests from “a variety of pastoral contexts.” 

During the five-day meeting, the priests will participate in roundtable discussions, liturgical celebrations, workshops on pastoral proposals, and “dialogue with experts,” according to the press release by the synod organizers, at the Fraterna Domus retreat center in Sacrofano, near Rome. 

The goal of the meeting, the Vatican says, is “listening to and valuing the experience of parish priests” and providing them with “an opportunity to experience the dynamism of synodal work at a universal level.”

The meeting is part of the ongoing Synod on Synodality initiated by Pope Francis in October 2021. A multiyear process, the synod aims to enhance the communion, participation, and mission of the Church. The first monthlong session of the Synod on Synodality concluded on Oct. 28, 2023, with the finalization of a 42-page synthesis report. The October 2024 session is expected to produce a final report, which will be presented to Pope Francis for his consideration in issuing any related teaching.

The General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, which governs the synod, said that the meeting was organized in response to the first synod assembly’s Synthesis Report, which identified a need to “develop ways for a more active involvement of deacons, priests, and bishops in the synodal process during the coming year.” 

The priests will also have the chance to speak with Pope Francis in an audience on May 2, the Vatican said in February. The Vatican also said the results of the priests’ meeting will contribute to the drafting of the Instrumentum Laboris, the working document for the second session of the Synodal Assembly, in October 2024.

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