A two-year synodal process is taking place in the Catholic Church from October 2021 that culminates in the final Synod Gathering of Bishops in Rome in October 2023. The overall theme is 'For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission'.
The Synod focuses on many of the same areas we are hoping to renew through the Diocesan Vision, and so we will use the outcomes of the Synodal process to continue to grow as a diocese that is faithful to the mission entrusted to us by Jesus Christ full of missionary disciples who work together co-responsibly in vibrant communities of faith, joyful in their service of God and neighbour.
To support and mobilise all in the diocese to become true missionary disciples.
We are called to be a Catholic diocese which is:faithful to the mission entrusted to us by Jesus Christfull of missionary disciples who work together co-responsibly in vibrant communities of faith,joyful in their service of God and neighbour.
We have a mandate given to us by Our Lord to spread the good news and serve and grow the faith for the coming decade and beyond.
Pope Francis is encouraging us to do something new to help us achieve this.
In Evangelii Gaudium he encourages us, the Christian faithful, “to embark upon a new chapter of evangelisation marked by this joy [of the Gospel] while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.”
Pope Francis urged the entire Church "to embark on a new chapter of evangelism". The Church must understand itself as a "community of missionary disciples", who are "permanently in a state of mission". He says that “’mere administration’ can no longer be enough.”
I have commissioned a number of groups who are looking at how we work in our parishes and in the Archdiocese to increase the opportunities that enable us to do God’s work and to fulfil the promises of our baptism.
I want us to look at how we will individually respond to God’s call to be missionary disciples in the Church and in our local communities, working joyfully together to spread the Word and the work of God. In essence, how will we unfold God’s plan for our diocesan church?
When I look ahead, I envisage a Catholic diocese which is:
· Faithful to the mission entrusted to us by Jesus Christ
· Full of intentional disciples in vibrant communities of faith, joyful in their service of God and others
· Where many more lay people are engaged in collaborative ministry
How can it happen and what will that look like given the challenges we face?
There are four areas I am asking us all to focus on: Evangelisation, Formation, Liturgy and Worship and Social Outreach.
In our work on the four themes it is important that young people and families are a particular area of focus for all that we do. The universal call to holiness finds its first expression within families and its first recruits among young people. Catholic education and our diocesan youth services play an important role in serving families and young people. The links between the family, the parish and the school are vital to ensure that the faith is handed on.
I invite you to join me in looking with fresh eyes at our mission. We must take this opportunity to do all we can to make sure the Gospel is seen and heard through the example of our daily Christian lives.
With every blessing
We are invited to journey together, listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the lives of the people we meet.
Every three years or so, Bishops from around the world gather with the Pope to discuss matters of importance to the life of the Church. The main group of participants is Bishops, not in their own right but as Shepherds of the People of God speaking on behalf of the situation in their own country.
For this reason, Pope Francis wishes to know that before the Bishops arrive in Rome, they are bringing the real sense of the Church in any given country to this ‘conversation’.
The Synod is an invitation for every diocese to embark on a path of profound renewal as inspired by the grace of God's Spirit. As stated in the Preparatory Document, the Synod considers a main question: How is our “walking together” in synodality realised today in the Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “walking together”? The sensus fidei (sense of the faith) of the whole People of God is sought on this question.
We, too, want to develop our sense of co-responsible ministry, to show our love of God through our love of His people, to care for creation, to develop and listen to the voice of youth, to support the formation of every Catholic and to hold liturgy and worship at the centre of our mission.
YOU are invited to give your voice to the Synod.
Overall, the Synod guidelines remind us that: • The goal is to ensure the participation of the greatest number possible, in order to listen to the living voice of the entire People of God.• This is not possible unless we make special efforts to actively reach out to people where they’re at, especially those who are often excluded or who are not involved in the life of the Church. • There must be a clear focus on the participation of the poor, marginalised, vulnerable, and excluded, in order to listen to their voices and experiences.• The Synodal Process must be simple, accessible, and welcoming for all.
The Synodal process launches in our diocese on Sunday 17 October 2021 with a Mass at St Chad’s Cathedral (please join via the live stream) and a Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Bernard. We will be seeking at least one Synod representative in each parish - could you be a representative to ensure that voices are heard?
You can find some documents, with ideas and guidance on how you can give your voice to the process - to tell us how you are journeying with God and how we can walk with you.
These documents, and many other resources, can be found in the Synodal process box at the bottom of this page.
Our Diocesan Synod contact is Canon Paul Fitzpatrick. You can contact Canon Paul directly at [email protected]
Written by the Liturgy and Worship group:
Spirit of God,descend on me this day.Grant me the Spirit of joy, to lift me,the Spirit of hope to inspire me,the Spirit of love to surround me andthe Spirit of truth to enlighten my path.
Holy Spirit,I pray for a new outpouring of your grace,so that I may grow in worship of your namein love of you in my prayerand in my actions towards others.
Come Holy Spirit into my life to guide me.Strengthen and defend me,so that I may be drawn ever closer to you.Help me this day and alwaysto be a channel of gracein all I say and doand invite others into relationship with you.
Open prayer card
In July we sent leaflets to all of our parishes, inviting you to join us in our Mission.
Download the Leaflet
Diocesan handbook on the Synod now available to download for use in your parishes and communities
At the centre of our Vision
Clergy and the lay faithful working together, developing teams and structures in parishes
Building up the common good
Sharing in, and reflecting, the divine life of the Trinity
Nurturing future Catholic leaders
Know God's love
Materials to support our Vision