Synod

During October Pope Francis, together with Bishops around the world, launched a program of listening in preparation for the 2023 Synod in Rome which will focus on the life and mission of the Church as we move forward together. The theme for this synod is, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.”

The word “synod” literally means “walking” or “journeying together.”

Pope Francis has called on each of us, as the People of God guided by the Holy Spirit, to help shape the future of the Church in the Third Millennium. The purpose of this Synod is not to produce more documents. Rather, it is intended to inspire people to dream about the Church we are called to be, to make people’s hopes flourish, to stimulate trust, to bind up wounds, to weave new and deeper relationships, to learn from one another, to build bridges, to enlighten minds, warm hearts, and restore strength to our hands for our common mission.

This has come at a very favourable time for our parish with Fr Kevin taking on the ministry of Parish Priest on November 1st. It is an opportunity for us to come together to share experiences of Church, to listen to one another and to create a parish vision of what we would like to be as disciples. The Carmelite Rule reminds us that we are all called to “follow in the footsteps of Christ.” The Synod discussions allow us to share and to hear what the Spirit is saying to us as individuals and as a parish.

To facilitate this listening, we invite you to reflect on your experience of Church, within the three aspects of the theme: Communion, Participation and Mission. Some questions that you might find helpful are below.

There are different ways in which your voice may be heard and you may hear from others:

  • by simply writing a response to the questions and submitting them to us
  • by coming along to a couple of sessions in the Welcome Centre*
  • by joining in the sessions by Zoom

Whichever way you choose, we want to hear your experiences. Every voice is important and if it not heard, we are all the poorer for that.

It’s important to note that this is not simply a message for those who are here week-in, week out. We want everyone to be heard and if you know someone what might have something to say, please let them know they too are welcome to join us, in whatever way feels most comfortable to them.

*The sessions and themes will be held in the Welcome Centre as follows:

Communion and Participation:

Mission

11.00am – 1.00pm

Saturday 27 November

11.00am – 1.00pm

 

or

or

1.00pm – 3.00pm

Thursday 25 November

1.00pm – 3.00pm

 

 

This Synod poses the following fundamental question: A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, “journeys together.” How is this “journeying together” happening today in your local Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “journeying together”?

Some questions that might be helpful.

Communion: We, as Christians, are to manifest communion, unity. Why? Because that is the nature of God. God is a communion of three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are baptized in the name of that Trinity and thus should show to the world that same unity and communion.

·        What has been my experience of Church – domestic, parish, national, universal?

·        In what way would my life be lacking if I didn’t have faith?

·        Is my faith nourished by the different experiences of Church?

·        Are there aspects of the Catholic Christian faith or practice that I struggle with?

 

Participation: If we are all part of the body of Christ, then every part must be valued by everyone else not just for the purpose of letting each person express their views. No, it is for the purpose of recognizing that God uses all of our talents for the good of all and that every voice can contribute to the discerning of God’s will by the community of faith.

·        Do I feel part of the Church community – either the parish or the universal Church?

·        What can the parish do to help me to participate in the way I would like?

·        What can I do to encourage others to feel enabled to be part of the community?

·        What part of Church experience helps me in my relationship with wider issues of society – climate change, poverty, needs of refugees, those who are excluded, any other issues?

 

Mission: “Go out to the whole world, proclaim the Good News” / “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord”

·        What is my dream for the Church, and for my parish, so that it can become more outward-looking, more missionary?

·        To achieve this dream, what do we (individually and as a parish) need to stop doing? What are we doing that needs to be developed or done differently?

·        What is the Spirit saying today – challenging us as a parish and me as an individual to make our community more welcoming, inclusive, outgoing?

·        Pope Francis writes that we need to ensure that the Church’s “customs, ways of doing things, language and structures” [The Joy of the Gospel #27] are geared towards mission, not self-preservation. Is this something that I can agree with and want the parish community to commit to?

For more details or to book into the discussions please email Terry Mahoney on       photographicservices@blueyonder.co.uk