The Revd Dr Jan Nowotnik, a priest of the Archdiocese of Birmingham working at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, has been nominated by the Holy Father as an adviser at the Synod this October. Fr Jan has recently completed his doctorate in synodality and the local Church. 

News from the Catholic Bishops' Conference

The Revd Dr Jan Nowotnik, Director of Mission for the Bishops’ Conference and its National Ecumenical Officer, has been appointed a non-bishop member of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that will convene from 4-29 October in Rome.

Fr Nowotnik is one of 10 non-bishop members – five women, five men – representing the European continental region. They will enjoy voting rights at the Assembly, which will consist of around 370 voting members out of more than 400 total participants.

This is the first of two Synodal gatherings – the second will take place in 2024. The overall theme is For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission.

“I am honoured to be appointed by the Holy Father as a voting member of the synod,” said Fr Nowotnik. “This is an historic synod as lay women and men, religious and priests will vote alongside the bishops for the first time.

“The synod is an important moment for the Church as we respond to the Holy Spirit and discern how best to serve the mission of the Church in these days. The synod calls us all to take our part in the proclamation of the Gospel, faithful to the truth of Christ’s teachings as we seek ever new ways of accompanying each other in His mercy."

The two bishop members representing the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales at the Synod General Assembly are Archbishop John Wilson, Archbishop of Southwark, and Bishop Marcus Stock, Bishop of Leeds.

“It is good to have Fr Jan Nowotnik as a non-bishop member of the Synod in October,” said Archbishop Wilson. “He brings experience of the different stages of the synodal process thus far which can be shared as part of the discernment in Rome this coming October.”

Bishop Marcus Stock agreed:

“I very much welcome the appointment by the Holy Father Pope Francis of Fr Jan Nowotnik as a non-episcopal voting member of the forthcoming Synod. I am confident that Fr Jan’s presence and the fruit of his academic studies will prove of great assistance to those who have been asked to take part in this 16th Synod of Bishops in Rome.”

Bishop Nicholas Hudson, auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Westminster, was appointed a member by Pope Francis. The announcement was made on 7 July 2023.

Dominican friar Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP will lead a synod retreat for participants and has been nominated a Spiritual Assistant.

Professor Anna Rowlands and Dr Austen Ivereigh will serve as experts/facilitators.

Vatican News spoke to Fr Jan on his appointment.

"Seeing my name on the list," says Fr Nowotnik, "felt quite an honour and a privilege."

At the same time, however, he stresses that "this is an important moment for the Church ecclesiologically", and that this is something he was "taking very seriously".

Listen to interview


The Revd Dr Jan Nowotnik is the Director of Mission and National Ecumenical Officer at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. In February 2023, he attended the Continental Phase of the Synod in Prague as a member of the in-person delegation from our countries. He recently completed a Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome in the Faculty of Theology. His thesis is titled: The ecclesiology of the local Church at Vatican II and in the post-conciliar magisterium: the focus on the ecclesiology of the local Church at Vatican II as a preparation for a Synodal Church.

The Instrumentum laboris, the Synod’s working document, can be found here

Cardinal Mario Grech is the Secretary General of the Secretariat for the Synod.

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich is the Synod’s General Relator.

Information on the synodal process, resources, news and more can be found on the official website for the Synod Office