Parish Launch of Synod Process

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Synods are an ancient form of church gatherings, stretching back to the Acts of the Apostles.  Now Pope Francis is asking us to gather in the same way.  He has called a Synod in 2023 which will involve all of us.  As Pope Francis said at the worldwide launch:

“The Spirit asks us to listen to the questions, concerns and hopes of every Church, people and nation.  And to listen to the world, to the challenges and changes that it sets before us… Let us listen to one another.”

I am asking us all to get involved in our diocesan synod process.  This is not a parliamentary system in which there are winners and losers.  Instead, this is about graceful listening and graceful speaking, in which each person’s contribution is valued.  Each one of us has the opportunity to speak and be listened to; but also to seek out those who do not usually speak, and those whose voices are not usually heard.  The conversations we have together will inform the future direction of our diocese. 

Pope Francis is very clear:

“The purpose of this Synod is not to produce more documents. Rather, it is intended to inspire people to dream about the Church we are called to be”

Over the next few weeks there will be all kinds of groups and conversations springing up around the diocese.  I ask as many of you as possible to take up these opportunities, both as participants and as local listeners.  We will need your eyes and ears to reach those on the margins, a particular concern of Pope Francis.  There will be resources and training to help make this happen.  The diocesan website is a good place to find out more. I would like to thank Canon Francis Higgins and his team for so generously leading this diocesan listening phase of the Synod.


Yours devotedly in Christ,