All posts by 3 churches

The Synod moves on – the world!

An important document called the Instrumentum laboris will be the basis for the work of the participants in the General Assembly of the Synod on Synodality, which begins in the Vatican in October 2023 and concludes with a second Assembly one year later. It brings together the experiences of dioceses around the world over the last two years, when Pope Francis set in motion a journey to discern what steps to take “to grow as a synodal Church.” It has some sixty pages that incorporate the experiences of local Churches in every region of the world – Churches that are experiencing wars, climate change, exploitation, inequality, and ‘waste’.” Churches whose faithful suffer martyrdom, in countries where they are minorities or where they are coming to terms “with an increasingly driven, and sometimes aggressive, secularisation.” Churches wounded by sexual abuse, or abuses of power and conscience,” whether economic and institutional – wounds that demand answers and “conversion.”

“Indeed, the purpose of the synodal process is not to produce documents but to open horizons of hope for the fulfilment of the Church’s mission.”

The Instrumentum laboris is composed of an explanatory text and fifteen worksheets that reveal a dynamic vision of the concept of “synodality.” Section A highlights the experience of the past two years and indicates a way forward to become an ever more synodal Church; Section B – entitled “Communion, Mission, Participation” – focuses on the “three priority issues” at the heart of the work to be done in October 2023. These are elaborated in three main themes:

• Growing in communion by welcoming everyone, excluding no one;

• recognizing and valuing the contribution of every baptised person in view of mission;

• and identifying governance structures and dynamics through which to articulate participation and authority over time in a missionary synodal Church.

“Rooted in this awareness, is the desire for a Church that is also increasingly synodal in its institutions, structures, and procedures.” It notes that a synodal Church is first and foremost a “Church of listening” and therefore “desires to be humble, and knows that it must ask forgiveness and has much to learn…The face of the Church today bears the signs of serious crises of mistrust and lack of credibility. In many contexts, crises related to sexual abuse, and abuse of power, money, and conscience have pushed the Church to undertake a demanding examination of conscience so that ‘moved by the Holy Spirit’ the Church ‘may never cease to renew herself’, in a journey of repentance and conversion that opens paths of reconciliation, healing, and justice.”

A synodal Church is also “a Church of encounter and dialogue” with believers of other religions and with other cultures and societies, “not afraid of the variety it bears,” but on the contrary, “values it without forcing it into uniformity.” The Church is synodal when it is unceasingly nourished by the mystery it celebrates in the liturgy, experiencing everyday “radical unity” in the same prayer, in the midst of a “diversity” of languages and rites.

Other significant passages concern the question of authority – is it rooted in service?; the need for “integral formation, initial and ongoing” for the People of God; as well as the need for “a similar effort” aimed at the renewal of the language used in the “liturgy, preaching, catechesis, sacred art, as well as in all forms of communication, including through new or traditional forms of media.”

Fr Matthew, based on a summary by Salvatore Cernuzio.

Youth filmmakers club – 10 week course

Limited spaces available to young people ages 11-16 (High School years 7-11) for a 10 week course in scriptwriting, filming and editing with an industry professional.

The course takes place between September and December 2023 (10 weeks) and costs just £40. 

Limited spaces are available so reserve your place as soon as possible.

For enquiries and to reserve a space, email Rachel O'Brien at 

Limited spaces available to young people ages 11-16 (High School years 7-11) for a 10 week course in scriptwriting, filming and editing with an industry professional.

The course takes place between September and December 2023 (10 weeks) and costs just £40. 

Limited spaces are available so reserve your place as soon as possible.

For enquiries and to reserve a space, email Rachel O’Brien at

The Synod moves on – Europe

The Synod is moving on. The European stage of the Synod took place at Prague 5 – 12 February 2023, and the first part of the actual Synod takes place in Rome in October. We’ll look at the Working Document for that in a week or two. Both documents will appear in full on our website Synod page.

The concluding European document was published April 17. It describes the Assembly as “the first time in Europe that the People of God – bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, lay men and women – gathered to listen to one another and dialogue in an atmosphere of prayer and listening to the Word of God.” Participants had “a profoundly spiritual experience through the synodal method.” This enabled them to “love the Church even more deeply, in spite of the wounds it has inflicted, for which it must beg forgiveness in order to be able to pursue the path of reconciliation, heal memories and welcome the wounded.” The introduction includes a sketch of the challenges facing the Church in Europe, such as the abuse crisis, the Ukraine war, migration, and secularization.

A main section outlines “seven points of reference” for building a synodal Church in Europe:

1. Journeying with Christ, filled with his Spirit.

2. Rediscovering the common baptismal dignity.

3. Synodality serving and enhancing mission.

4. Growing as a Church in dialogue.

5. Facing open wounds, overcoming prejudices, reconciling memories.

6. Attending to families, women, and young people.

7. Building the synodal method into Church structures and processes.

Alongside the seven points of reference, the document identifies seven “tensions that run through the Churches in Europe.” These are:

1. Truth and mercy.

2. Tradition and aggiornamento.

3. Liturgy as a focal point to observe tensions in the Church.

4. Understanding the mission.

5. Co-responsibility of all, in the diversity of charisms and ministries.

6. The exercise of authority within a synodal Church.

7. Unity in diversity: Between local and universal.

The document acknowledges that “during the assembly, not only differences of opinion emerged, but also mutual accusations.” Some called for “quick and radical changes”, while others “expressed the concern that adopting changes would risk the integrity of the Church’s teaching.” It suggests that the liturgy is “a mirror” that clearly reflects these tensions, and that the differences among Europe’s Catholics result in contrasting views of mission. Some consider that the task of a missionary Church is the strengthening of catechesis and the growth of religious practice, while “Others understand mission as going out into the world to make God’s love tangible for all people, especially for marginalized and those who were hurt by the Church; others again add that the Church should be a home for all people, especially the young.” It refers to divisions over calls for married priests, women priests, and women deacons, but suggests there is “a great convergence” among Europe’s Catholics on the need to promote “the real and effective co-responsibility of the People of God, overcoming clericalism.” The document calls for clarity and transparency, and asks for appropriate institutions and canonical structures to assist the Church in putting synodality into practice.

Fr Matthew  

New members needed for Christ the King Parish Advisory Council

Three new council members are needed for Christ the King Parish Advisory Council this year (June 2023). This form should be signed by the proposer and the nominee and returned to the Parish Office (email or post in the mailbox to the right of the main door of the Parish Centre)  on or before Sunday 18 June 2023.

Download nomination form (Microsoft Word version)

Download nomination form (Rich Text version)

An election to take place as necessary at the Masses on 1/2 July 2023.

The Ascension: Behold the man here too

Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, while a bloodthirsty crowd clamoured for his crucifixion. Pilate simply wanted to release Jesus, but the mob pressure was strong, so he had Jesus flogged as a punishment, hoping that would satisfy the crowd and show that Jesus was helpless. He brought the battered and bloodied Jesus before the mob and said, ‘Behold the man!’

Jesus is the image of God on earth. But he is also the image of man, what humankind is supposed to be. The devil and his powers want to tear down the image of God in man. The evil in the world loves to mock us and say, ‘Look, here is what man is good for. Here is man. Disfigured. Bloodied. His only crown is that of cruel thorns. He is good only for the discard heap.’ How often in our films and stories this is the way humanity is portrayed. We look at image after image of man humiliated. Man in the gutter, searching and groping blindly for meaning, and finding only despair. Man acting like an animal. Man helpless before his lusts. Man violent and destroying. Materialists tell us we are nothing but a speck in an indifferent universe.  

This is where the ascension is so important. Jesus is the one man who lived out perfectly the image of God in a human being. The final picture we have of Jesus is not the battered, rejected, disgraced Jesus. It is the triumphant, radiant Jesus ascending into heaven. ‘Behold the man’ must be said not only before the crucifixion. It must be said at the ascension. Look, there is man, man as he was meant to be, going to communion with God. There is man, meant to reign in heaven, restored in glory, the very image of the eternal God. So Pope Benedict taught that to truly understand what people are, you have to look not just where we came from and where we wallow and slop now, you have to consider where we can go in Christ. Our destiny in Jesus is to be in communion, in glory and harmony, in loving dominion over a flourishing earth, restored to a glorious destiny. The ascension is the guarantee, the down payment on all God is going to do to restore his redeemed race. Behold the man! If we are in Christ, we are meant for heaven. We are bound for glory. Our destiny is not the gutter; it is the mansions of the high king where we will live as his sons and daughters.

Based on “Seven Things to Like About the Ascension” by Gerrit Scott Dawson