For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission 2021-23

Note: Please read on for how you can prayerfully participate in this Synod, and for a link where you can feedback your responses.

The Synod of Bishops is inviting you to take part in the forthcoming Synod.

Pope Francis recently called for a ‘Synodal Process’ to begin in all the Dioceses of the world. Synod simply means ‘journeying together’ and it involves listening to the Holy Spirit and to each other in order to discern the path we are called to walk together, as the Church in the Third Millennium.

Archbishop Bernard Longley would like to hear from every Catholic so that, through this journey, he is able to capture your answers to this basic question:
What is the Holy Spirit saying to our Church today?

‘Mutual listening’ will be at the heart of the synodal process. As we journey together we are asked to pray constantly, and to discern how God is calling us to respond to three key concepts. This can only happen under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

These three concepts will shape this ‘walking together’:
COMMUNION Our prayerful discernment should lead us to deeper union with Christ, deeper commitment to the life of the Church and to the mission God gives us.

PARTICIPATION As God’s people talk and listen to one another, I discover my place in the Body of Christ, and also the essential part that others are called to play too.

MISSION Our Communion and Participation exists for a common purpose: to empower our mission. And it will grow further as we listen and discern.

What are your dreams for our Church? This journey that we will be embarking on will take place in our parish too, over the next few months. This will take the form of:
• information about the Synod through videos and documents;
• prayer for our discernment, both as a parish and individually;
• meeting together to listen and to talk about the three key concepts above.

Following this, all our responses from any meetings and discussions will be returned to our diocese and in turn passed on to the Synod of Bishops in Rome.

Finally, Pope Francis reminds us: ‘The Synod is not about gathering opinions. This is not a survey, but about listening to the Holy Spirit, as we see in Revelation: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.”’ In preparation, please visit videos and resources below to help us participate in this process. Above all, pray the Synod prayer for the help of the Holy Spirit, that we will be guided into all truth! (John 16:13)

We have the means for you to be able to return your reflections to the Archdiocese online. Click the link just below, which will take you to the information and resources you will need to do that:

Helpful Framework for Answering Questions: CLICK HERE

Online Feedback Form: CLICK HERE

We stand before You, Holy Spirit, as we gather together in Your name. With You alone to guide us, make Yourself at home in our hearts; Teach us the way we must go and how we are to pursue it. We are weak and sinful; do not let us promote disorder. Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path nor partiality influence our actions. Let us find in You our unity so that we may journey together to eternal life and not stray from the way of truth and what is right. All this we ask of You, who are at work in every place and time, in the communion of the Father and the Son, forever and ever. Amen

What do you dream for our Church?

The most important aspect of the Synod is prayerful discernment. Please see Vron Smith’s video (4) below on how this approach can be practised in groups.

Synodal Way: Join Us on the Synodal Path
Diocesan Plan: Unfolding God’s Plan

As you know a synodal process is about to begin, a journey in which the whole Church is engaged around the theme: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission,” three pillars. Three phases are foreseen, which will take place between October 2021 and October 2023. This itinerary was thought out as dynamism of mutual listening. I want to stress this: a dynamism of mutual listening carried out at all levels of the Church, involving all the People of  God.” – Pope Francis