For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission
Pope Francis and the Synod office in Rome are inviting the whole Church to become Synodal, promoting Communion, Participation and Mission. We are being invited to find a way together for a post pandemic church, and it is up to us to discern individually and collectively where the Holy Spirit is calling us as Church of the future.
Pope Francis in his book Let us Dream says “we need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas” The Synod depends on an open process with everyone having the right to discern, to listen to the Holy Spirit and to each other and to respond. “BEING CHURCH IS BEING A COMMUNITY THAT WALKS TOGETHER” We are being invited to journey together as the People of God, listening to the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the lives of the people we meet.
The themes from the title of the Synod can help in understanding why now is the right time for this to take place. The Synod process will be provided with ten questions based on the themes above, Communion, Participation and Mission. The whole ‘Synod’ will be a two–year process beginning in every diocese in October 2021 and moving on to a national then international listening exercise.
As part of the discussion we are called to participate in an examination of the traditional exclusive position of power and separation as we look forward to the grace of an inclusive ministry of blessing and fellowship. All are invited to speak with courage, that is, integrating freedom, truth, and charity. In the Church and in society, we are side by side on the same road and we must all take responsibility for our future growth in our own communities and as part of the wider church. The fundamental question that guides this consultation of the People of God, as mentioned at the beginning, is the following:
In recalling our most recent experiences, the world has come through a profound period with the Covid-19 pandemic:
- What strengths and weaknesses have emerged during this period as a faithful community?
- What has been the experience of the touch of God in these times?
- What challenges and vulnerabilities have been exposed in our lives, both individually and as a community, which need to be addressed?
A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, “journeys together:”
- How is this “journeying together” happening today in your particular Church?
- What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “journeying together”?
In order to respond, you are invited to:
- ask yourselves what experiences in your particular Church the fundamental question calls to mind;
- reread these experiences in greater depth: What joys did they provoke? What difficulties and obstacles have they encountered? What wounds have they brought to light? What insights have they
- gather the fruits to share: Where, in these experiences, does the voice of the Spirit resound? What is he asking of us? What are the points to be confirmed, the prospects for change, the steps to be taken? Where do we register a consensus? What paths are opening up for our particular Church
The Synod is very much about listening and we invite you to have an open heart and open ears as we enter into this process. “Journeying together” is only possible if it is based on communal listening and over the coming months the questions and the themes will be unpacked and there will be opportunities for you to speak in our own community to find out how your prayers, thoughts and dreams for the future of the Church can be fed into our Diocesan process so please come back to this page and keep an eye on our Newsletters for regular updates on the next steps.
The Synod Prayer: Adsumus Sancte Spiritus
As we embrace this Synodal Process, this prayer which has been historically used at Councils, Synods and other Church gatherings for hundreds of years invites the Holy Spirit to be at work in us so that we may be a community and a people of grace.