I write to thank you all, parish representatives, parish teams, parishioners, priests and deacons for all the time and effort you have put in to carrying out the synodal process in your parishes and in writing your Report and sending it in. We received 41 Synodal Reports and one from the University Chaplaincy. They were all most interesting to read, the characteristics of your different parishes, the methods you used and the views of your parishioners, under the headings of Communion, Participation and Mission. It was a challenge to you all to start the “listening and discernment” process, to gather views in a variety of ways and to write a report, all in a reduced time frame.
Members of the Diocesan Synodal Team each took one of the themes and read that section across all 42 reports. They wrote one or two pages about the emerging themes in their section. These constituted Draft One and these pages were then considered by the Team this week. One member has now written the final draft, Draft Two. All members of the Team are reading that Draft and will produce their comments so that Draft Three, the Final Draft, will be produced this weekend. This will then be sent to the Archbishop. It will be sent out to parishes on the weekend of April 9th-10th. The Report will appear in the May edition of the Catholic People and will also be put on the archdiocesan website.
I believe that all of you who have been involved, in any way, great or small, can be rightly proud of your contribution. You have responded to Pope Francis’s call to walk together and to enter into a “synodal” process of listening and discernment, walking humbly with God, being led by the Holy Spirit and recognising Christ in each other and listening to each other.
The submission of the reports and the diocesan report are not the end of the road. It is hoped and expected that the synodal way of doing things will continue, that we will embark on an ongoing journey of synodal conversion and that we will work towards fulfilling Pope Francis’s dream of a wholly synodal Church. You have begun at parish level and I wish you well as you continue to do things in the synodal way.
May God bless your synodal endeavours,
Diocesan Synodal Co-ordinator