The Catholic Chaplaincy team at the University of Birmingham have launched their response to the Synod.

A recent planning meeting hosted by Fr Kensy Joseph SJ and Sr Una Coogan IBVM was attended by four students who had volunteered to be Synod reps.

An online survey and an in-person sharing/listening event at the chaplaincy are now planned.

Momentum to take part in the Synod continues to build across the Archdiocese as more and more parishes and communities kickstart their conversations.

The deadline to receive feedback is Monday 28 February.

Parishes and communities may be approaching their Synod journey slightly differently but it is encouraging to see so many people taking part.

For example, at the recent planning meeting participants were invited to reflect on Galatians 5:22-23 (the fruits of the Spirit) to have a sense of what it feels like when the Spirit is at work in oneself.

There were then three rounds of reflective and prayerful sharing, followed by a round of discussion.

Round 1 – Quotes
Participants had previously been sent a page of quotes from the Vatican Preparatory Document and asked to reflect on them: “From the quotes sent out, which most stood out for you? Why? Did you find it affirming or challenging?”

One student’s response: I felt the third quote stood out to me. Particularly the part about listening, dialogue and community discernment. The way I view the Church is that we are the Church, the Church is made up of the people, and as that it is important that the Church listens to everyone. Sometimes some people don’t feel listened to by the Church or included in the Church and it is important that these people’s experiences are listened to. And to listen to “each and every person” as the quote says. I also felt the part about a different future was important, as the church needs to evolve and adapt to address the new challenges that may not previously have been or may not previously have been listened to.

Round 2 – Project Manager
Participants were asked to consider: “Imagine you are the “project manager” for introducing and running the Synodal Process here at the UoB Catholic Chaplaincy. What would you do? What methods would you use (e.g. online surveys; town hall meetings; World Café; focus groups; walk by the canal; something else)?”

Responses included: Prayer events, conversations, online surveys, reflections, prayer, listening and discernment, small, informal conversations.

Round 3 – Fruits of the Holy Spirit in this meeting

Participants were asked (in the light of Gal 5:22-23): “Where did you experience the fruits of the Spirit so far in this meeting? Where did you experience the opposite?”

Responses included: Patience, kindness, generosity, exercising self-control when listening, love, faithfulness, kindness.

All are encouraged to take part in the Synod. Please make use of the Diocesan handbook, ‘Walking Together’, which is a step-by-step guide of what to do. It includes the questions to discuss and a feedback sheet.

Responses should then be emailed to [email protected]

And if you need support at any stage of your journey please ask for help by emailing [email protected]