Tag Archives: synod

Synod news

Over 80 parishioners from over 30 parishes across the Archdiocese have stepped up as representatives in this historic Synod. They started a programme of training this week with an introductory talk on what is meant by a ‘synod’, the synodal process, the timeline, and the role of parish representatives. In their second session next week, they will look at how to organise and run a parish meeting and how they might encourage prayerful listening and discernment. The synodal process is for each and every one of us and we hope we will use the opportunities we are offered to listen to each other.

Questions to think about: How do we journey together, listen to each other? To the Holy Spirit? What is your dream for the Church, your parish, so that it becomes more missionary, more outward looking?

Fr Matthew

The Synod. Let’s get thinking and chatting!

So to start us off, from the Synod documents: “The fundamental question that guides this consultation of the People of God”… is the following:

A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, “journeys together.”

How is this “journeying together” happening today in your particular Church?

What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our journeying together?

We are invited to:

  • ask ourselves what experiences in our parish and / or diocese the fundamental question calls to mind
  • what joys did they provoke?
  • what difficulties and obstacles have they encountered?
  • what wounds have they brought to light?
  • what insights have they elicited?
  • where, in these experiences, does the voice of the Spirit resound?
  • what is the Spirit asking of us?
  • what are the points to be confirmed, the prospects for change, the steps to be taken?
  • what paths are opening up?

The Synod – coordinators needed

Dear friends and parishioners

Diocesan coordinator Madeleine Walters from St Teilo’s and her team are now asking each church community for at least two people, to be representatives in enabling parishioners to reflect, share and respond to the questions of the Synod.

It’s disappointing that only one person volunteered last week, and it would be tragic if we all were prevented from making our contribution by a lack of coordinators.

If you would like to serve our churches in this historic event, please email Fr Matthew at matthew.jones@rcadc.org within the next three days. The diocese will supply training next week, and info will continue in forthcoming newsletters.

Fr Matthew

The Synod

Here are extracts from Pope Francis’ address for the beginning of the Synod process. Please take time to read it and capture something of Francis’ vision.

Diocesan coordinator Madeleine Walters from St Teilo’s and her team are now asking each church community for at least two people to be representatives in reflecting, sharing, and responding to the questions of the Synod.

If you would like to serve our churches in this historic event, please email Fr Matthew at matthew.jones@rcadc.org within the next three days. The diocese will supply some training, and info will continue in forthcoming newsletters. Meanwhile, once more we print the Synod prayer:

We stand before You, Holy Spirit, as we gather together in Your name.

With You alone to guide us, make Yourself at home in our hearts;

Teach us the way we must go and how we are to pursue it.

We are weak and sinful; do not let us promote disorder.

Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path nor partiality influence our actions.

Let us find in You our unity so that we may journey together to eternal life and not stray from the way of truth and what is right.

All this we ask of You, who are at work in every place and time,

in the communion of the Father and the Son,

forever and ever. Amen

Address of Pope Francis for the opening of the Synod (extracts)

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Thank you for being here for the opening of the Synod.  You have come by many different roads and from different Churches, each bearing your own questions and hopes.  I am certain the Spirit will guide us and give us the grace to move forward together, to listen to one another and to embark on a discernment of the times in which we are living, in solidarity with the struggles and aspirations of all humanity.  I want to say again that the Synod is not a parliament or an opinion poll; the Synod is an ecclesial event and its protagonist is the Holy Spirit.  If the Spirit is not present, there will be no Synod.  […]

The Synod has three key words: communion, participation and missionCommunion and mission are theological terms describing the mystery of the Church, which we do well to keep in mind. The Second Vatican Council clearly taught that communion expresses the very nature of the Church, while pointing out that the Church has received “the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the kingdom of Christ and of God, and is, on earth, the seed and beginning of that kingdom” (Lumen Gentium, 5).  […] 

And this brings us to our third word: participationThe words “communion” and “mission” can risk remaining somewhat abstract, unless we cultivate an ecclesial praxis that expresses the concreteness of synodality at every step of our journey and activity, encouraging real involvement on the part of each and all.  I would say that celebrating a Synod is always a good and important thing, but it proves truly beneficial if it becomes a living expression of “being Church”, of a way of acting marked by true participation.  This is not a matter of form, but of faith.  Participation is a requirement of the faith received in baptism.  As the Apostle Paul says, “in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor 12:13).  In the Church, everything starts with baptism.  Baptism, the source of our life, gives rise to the equal dignity of the children of God, albeit in the diversity of ministries and charisms.  Consequently, all the baptized are called to take part in the Church’s life and mission.  Without real participation by the People of God, talk about communion risks remaining a devout wish.  In this regard, we have taken some steps forward, but a certain difficulty remains and we must acknowledge the frustration and impatience felt by many pastoral workers, members of diocesan and parish consultative bodies and women, who frequently remain on the fringes.  Enabling everyone to participate is an essential ecclesial duty!  All the baptized, for baptism is our identity card.

The Synod, while offering a great opportunity for a pastoral conversion in terms of mission and ecumenism, is not exempt from certain risks. I will mention three of these.  The first is formalism. The Synod could be reduced to an extraordinary event, but only externally; that would be like admiring the magnificent facade of a church without ever actually stepping inside.  The Synod, on the other hand, is a process of authentic spiritual discernment that we undertake, not to project a good image of ourselves, but to cooperate more effectively with the work of God in history.  If we want to speak of a synodal Church, we cannot remain satisfied with appearances alone; we need content, means and structures that can facilitate dialogue and interaction within the People of God, especially between priests and laity.  Why do I insist on this?  Because sometimes there can be a certain elitism in the presbyteral order that detaches it from the laity; the priest ultimately becomes more a “landlord” than a pastor of a whole community as it moves forward.  This will require changing certain overly vertical, distorted and partial visions of the Church, the priestly ministry, the role of the laity, ecclesial responsibilities, roles of governance and so forth.

A second risk is intellectualism.  Reality turns into abstraction and we, with our reflections, end up going in the opposite direction.  This would turn the Synod into a kind of study group, offering learned but abstract approaches to the problems of the Church and the evils in our world.  The usual people saying the usual things, without great depth or spiritual insight, and ending up along familiar and unfruitful ideological and partisan divides, far removed from the reality of the holy People of God and the concrete life of communities around the world.

Finally, the temptation of complacency, the attitude that says: “We have always done it this way” (Evangelii Gaudium, 33) and it is better not to change.  That expression – “We have always done it that way” – is poison for the life of the Church.  Those who think this way, perhaps without even realizing it, make the mistake of not taking seriously the times in which we are living.  The danger, in the end, is to apply old solutions to new problems.  A patch of rough cloth that ends up creating a worse tear (cf. Mt 9:16).  It is important that the synodal process be exactly this: a process of becoming, a process that involves the local Churches, in different phases and from the bottom up, in an exciting and engaging effort that can forge a style of communion and participation directed to mission.                     

And so, brothers and sisters, let us experience this moment of encounter, listening and reflection as a season of gracethat, in the joy of the Gospel, allows us to recognize at least three opportunities.  First, that of moving not occasionally but structurally towards a synodal Church, an open square where all can feel at home and participate.  The Synod then offers us the opportunity to become a listening Church, to break out of our routine and pause from our pastoral concerns in order to stop and listen.  To listen to the Spirit in adoration and prayer.  Today how much we miss the prayer of adoration; so many people have lost not only the habit but also the very notion of what it means to worship God!  To listen to our brothers and sisters speak of their hopes and of the crises of faith present in different parts of the world, of the need for a renewed pastoral life and of the signals we are receiving from those on the ground.  Finally, it offers us the opportunity to become a Church of closenessLet us keep going back to God’s own “style”, which is closeness, compassion and tender love.  God has always operated that way.  If we do not become this Church of closeness with attitudes of compassion and tender love, we will not be the Lord’s Church.  Not only with words, but by a presence that can weave greater bonds of friendship with society and the world.  A Church that does not stand aloof from life, but immerses herself in today’s problems and needs, bandaging wounds and healing broken hearts with the balm of God.  Let us not forget God’s style, which must help us: closeness, compassion and tender love.

Dear brothers and sisters, may this Synod be a true season of the Spirit!  For we need the Spirit, the ever new breath of God, who sets us free from every form of self-absorption, revives what is moribund, loosens shackles and spreads joy.  The Holy Spirit guides us where God wants us to be, not to where our own ideas and personal tastes would lead us.  […] Come, Holy Spirit!  You inspire new tongues and place words of life on our lips: keep us from becoming a “museum Church”, beautiful but mute, with much past and little future.  Come among us, so that in this synodal experience we will not lose our enthusiasm, dilute the power of prophecy, or descend into useless and unproductive discussions.  Come, Spirit of love, open our hearts to hear your voice!  Come, Holy Spirit of holiness, renew the holy and faithful People of God!  Come, Creator Spirit, renew the face of the earth!  Amen.

The Synod

Dear friends and parishioners

Pope Francis launches the Synod process for the worldwide Church this weekend in Rome. Archbishop Stack has appointed Madeleine Walter of St Teilo’s as coordinator for the diocese, and the clergy of Cardiff deanery meet on Thursday to plan the way ahead for the city and area to involve the maximum number of people.

The word Synod comes from Greek and means “Walking Together” or “The Way Together”, and the theme for this Synod is ‘For a synodal Church: communion, participation and Mission’.

Fr Matthew