Starting with what we know and building with what we have – “…integrating the Synodal Process into the life of the local Church…” (Extract 3.1 The Diocesan Phase)

Much of the richness of this listening phase will come from discussions among parishes, lay movements, schools and universities, religious congregations, neighbourhood Christian communities, social action, ecumenical and inter-religious movements, and other groups. Bishops initiate the process, so it is likely that involvement at the diocesan level will be coordinated through the regular communication channels of the diocesan Bishop. Those parishes with a Parish Pastoral Council, and those dioceses with a Diocesan Pastoral Council, can make use of these existing “synodal” bodies to organize, facilitate, and give life to the Synodal Process at the local level, provided that efforts are made to reach out to the peripheries and to those voices that are seldom heard. The aim is not to overwhelm dioceses and parishes, but rather to integrate the Synodal Process into the life of the local Church in creative ways that promote deepen communion, fuller participation, and a more fruitful mission…

…This diocesan phase is an opportunity for parishes and dioceses to encounter, experience, and live out the synodal journey together, thus discovering or developing synodal tools and pathways that are best suited for their local context, which will ultimately become the new style of the local Churches on the path of synodality.

Thus this Synod not only expects responses that can assist the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to be held in Rome in October 2023, but also desires to promote and develop the practice and experience of being Synodal in the course of the process and in the future moving forward.

Prayer for the Synod
As we embrace this Synodal Process, this prayer invites the Holy Spirit to be at work in us so that we may be a community and a people of grace.

 Prayer for the Synod: Adsumus Sancte Spiritus 

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.

May the Holy Spirit guide us in all our endeavours.