Back in October 2021, Pope Francis opened preparations for the 2023 Synod of Bishop’s Gathering in Rome which will focus on the theme “For a Synodal Church:
Communion, Participation, and Mission”. In simple terms, this Synod focuses on how we are operating and journeying as a Church in this third millennium. It starts with, and involves all the faithful at local Churches across the world, promising to listen to all, especially to lay people. This process ,locally, will focus on the question:
What does God want from the Church in Ireland at this time?
The concept and language of Synodality is something new and perhaps difficult for many to understand, yet it offers great promise for the future in that it is grounded in an ancient way of being Church that stretches back to the earliest Church communities of the first millennium.
As part of our parish response arising from the training sessions which took place in March and April 2022 our approach was as follows –
We adapted four questions/themes from the Diocesan Synod pack (Core question and questions 1,2 and 6) We used a two- pronged approach using the same questions in a questionnaire (on-line & hard copies) and we held listening sessions in three of our churches. We rang those who filled in questionnaires and invited them to the listening sessions. We spoke at all Sunday/Vigil Masses one weekend and put up posters. Our parish submission to the diocese is detailed below.
Our parish response forms part of the diocesan response which in turn feeds into Irish Catholic Church's Document to the Holy See in August 2022. It is this document which will form the basis of discussion for the Irish bishops at the 2023 Synod in Rome. For background and a timeline of the synodal pathway in Ireland https://synod.ie/