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November 6, 2001


Ms. Mary T. Kury, Conshohocken; Mr. Daniel Szostek, West Norriton; Mrs. Teresita M. Vilar, Horsham; Mr. J. Taney Willcox, Lower Merion and Rev. Mr. Joel M. Ziff, Plymouth are among the 27 people who have been appointed to a General Preparatory Commission for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Synod which will be held in the Fall of 2002. A Synod gathers the members of the local Church to consider prayerfully and seriously the current state of the Church's life in order to create a vision and a plan for the future.

Ms. Mary Kury is a member of Saint Matthew Parish in Conshohocken and is an institutional equity sales trader. She is originally from Buffalo, New York. Mr. Daniel Szostek belongs to Visitation B.V.M. Parish. He attended Drexel University and is a pharmaceutical sales representative. Mrs. Teresita Vilar is a retired kindergarten teacher with the School District of Philadelphia. She and her husband Alfred belong to Saint Catherine of Siena Parish in Horsham. They have two children, Dexter and Debbie. They also just celebrated the birth of their first grandchild, Jacob, born six months ago.

Mr. J. Taney Willcox is an attorney at law. He and his wife, Catherine Goldschmidt Willcox have five children and 12 grandchildren. The couple belongs to Saint John Vianney Parish in Gladwyne. Rev. Mr. Joel Ziff is a Permanent Deacon at Epiphany of Our Lord Parish and is Director of Finance for the Sisters of Mercy. He and his wife Roseanne have five children: James; John; Peter; Michael and Mary Beth (Meehan). The couple has 11 grandchildren.

The Synod to be held in the Fall of 2002 is an historic event in the lives of the people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It has been sixty-eight years since the Archdiocese held a Synod. The calling of this Tenth Synod for the Archdiocese by Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, is the culmination of a series of planning programs. It affords the Archbishop a special opportunity for him to hear the voice of his people on their hopes, concerns and desires for the faith they hold in communion with him and one another. Mrs. Vilar of Horsham believes, "The Synod is a vital tool to learn about the life of the Church. It is a welcome reminder to all Catholics of their responsibilities for the care of the Archdiocese for the years to come." Mr. Willcox said, "It's not often you get the chance to change the world or the Church. It is a great honor to participate. In prior Synods only the clergy served as members."

The 27 members of the General Preparatory Commission are charged with writing a Directory which guides the preparations for the Synod and the norms for conducting its meetings. Mr. Szostek of West Norriton said, "To be a member of the Commission that will assist in preparing the topics for discussion at the Synod is a large responsibility. But I welcome the challenge to represent my parish and to serve the Archdiocese of Philadelphia." One of the important tasks of the Commission is to devise a method for all of the people of the Archdiocese to express their needs and concerns to Cardinal Bevilacqua as input for the Archbishop's eventual selection of the topics for the Synod. According to Deacon Ziff, "The Synod is an opportunity to look at where we are as Church in Philadelphia and move into the future."

The consultation of the people to have their "voices" heard will be in two parts. The first part, this fall, will ask anyone interested to write down their own needs and hopes. The second part, in the spring of 2002, will ask people to respond to possible topics during assemblies or regional meetings. The sessions of the Synod will be held on several days during Fall 2002. The matters that are placed before the Synod at its sessions will result in recommendations to be considered by the Archbishop. Additional information about the Tenth Synod of Philadelphia at


Donna Farrell
Broadcast and Media Specialist

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