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November 6, 2001


Rev. Mr. Clemen J. McGovern, Jr. of Chadds Ford, Sister Helen Rapine, I.H.M., of Caln Township, Mr. Ward Sproat of Tredyffrin and Mr. Carlos Questell of East Goshen, 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.

Rev. Mr. McGovern Jr. is a Permanent Deacon at Saint Cornelius Parish in Chadds Ford and a retired Judge. He and his wife Maureen have lived in Chadds Ford since 1976. The couple has five sons: Terence, Timothy, Clement III, Francis and Jonathan. Sister Helen Rapine, I.H.M. is the President of Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown and is a member of Saint Joseph Parish in Downingtown. Mr. Carlos Questell is vice president for real estate for Penske Trucking Corporation. He and his wife, Migdalia, belong to Saints Simon and Jude Parish and have two children: Carlos and Zulieka. Mr. Ward Sproat is an executive with Exelon Generation. He and his wife Heidi have three children: Kristen; Eric and Keith.

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. Mr. Sproat, of Tredyffrin, said, "The Synod is the single most important event in the Catholic church in Philadelphia in the last 40 years!" 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. Deacon McGovern said, "I believe the Synod offers a special opportunity for every interested Christian to be heard and have their opinions considered by our Archbishop. A healthy breath of fresh air!"

The 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. 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 Sister Helen Rapine, I.H.M., "The coming Synod gives opportunity for all of the people of God to help shape the future of the Church and to respond to the universal call to holiness."

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 invite people to assemblies or regional meetings and ask them to respond to possible topics. 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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