A four-year 'synodal' process is taking place across the Catholic Church. This is an important moment in the life of the world Church, with Pope Francis calling us all to reflect on the theme 'For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.' The Pope is inviting us to take this journey together. As the Preparatory Document for the Synod expresses, “This path of walking together is the most effective way of manifesting and putting into practice the nature of the Church as the pilgrim and missionary People of God".
The Synodal process is taking place in three stages. In October 2021 - March 2022, dioceses, national organisations, and religious communities engaged in a number of listening conversations exploring the way the Church embraces her missionary mandate in the world of today. The ideas and thoughts collected as part of this exercise formed a number of Diocesan Syntheses - the ‘local’ part of the Synodal process. Reflecting on the main themes that emerged as a result of these listening conversations, a National Synthesis Team then discerned and drafted a National Synthesis for England and Wales. This document was sent to the Synod Office in Rome accompanied by the Bishops of England and Wales' Reflection to the National Synthesis Seeking our Hearts' Desire.
with experts from 5 continents - with various competencies and perspectives - convening in the Italian city of Frascati, near Rome, to continue the process of discernment, dialogue and listening. You can read more about this phase here.
A new Synod document 'Instrumentum laboris' was released in June 2023. It calls for a welcoming Church which embraces diversity, with the document forming the basis for the work of those participating in the General Assembly of the Synod on Synodality, which begins at the Vatican in October this year - you can find out about the episcopal members of the Synod from England and Wales here.
People and parish groups from across our diocesan community contributed to the local phase of the Synod, with an estimated 1,000 people contributing their reflections on the questions posed by Rome. If you were unable to attend Bishop Richard’s Feedback Webinar, you can watch it below.
The responses from across our diocesan faith family were gathered and read very carefully, with the thoughts and reflections of people across our community informing our diocesan submission document entitled the 'Synthesis of Synod Responses'. You can read this document, which Bishop Richard submitted to Bishops' Conference on our behalf, below:
The Synod is an invitation to people across our community of faith to ‘walk together’, with every member of the Church encouraged to participate.
Bishops will play a key role, listening to the people of God in their particular Church and, under the power of the Holy Spirit, to hear and discern what is being said of that Church. It is important that those taking part in the Synod allow those charged with the work of discernment, the freedom and support to do so.
Each local Church is a fundamental part of the Universal Church, so what is shared within each local Church is important, contributing to the whole.
The Bishops of England and Wales discerned their response to the National Synthesis, compiling a document entitled Seeking Our Hearts' Desire. This Reflection from the Bishops, together with the National Synthesis document, was sent to the Synod Office in Rome as the formal submission to the Synod from England and Wales. The Synod process will eventually progress to the Universal Church with the final Synod Gathering of Bishops in Rome in 2024. You can read the Bishops' Reflection below. To keep up to date with the very latest news on the Synod visit the Bishops' Conference website or the Vatican's dedicated Synod VA website.
If you have questions about the diocesan phase of the Synod please contact our team E: firstname.lastname@example.org. There are a range of supporting resources available online to help you explore and understand the Synod process, they include: