I have accepted an invitation from Fr. John to act as our parish coordinator for gathering responses to Pope Francis’ call for all of us to participate in the Synodal process called “Journeys Together”. Pope Francis asks us all to reflect on where we are journeying to, and how we are to get there.
The Synod is essentially a ‘Listening Project’, an open discussion, seeking views from everyone on a variety of issues affecting our journey in faith as a pilgrim people.
It is a big task, and one with a short timeline. Our contributions have to be submitted by January 22nd. We have been asked to contribute via responses to a series of questions based on a number of different topics. Deacon Huw and Angela Wilson have been working on them as diocesan representatives.
Meanwhile, I have paraphrased below the sorts of things we may be asked to think about.
How do we view patterns of worship in our faith community; are we a close knit or a more open welcoming community?
Do we listen to each other or close our ears to opinions that don’t match what we think or believe?
Do we communicate with each other effectively within our parish community?
What do our neighbours think of us?
Do we reflect Christ’s teaching in what we do and say outside Sunday Mass?
Do we understand or get engaged with what goes on in the church outside our own Parish?
What is my/our relationship with those of other Christian denominations?
How do I (or can I) contribute to the life of my local church community?
What are my views concerning decision making within my church and diocese?
What resources do I need to help me contribute to developing the faith as a missionary disciple?
I would like to gather together a number of groups within the parish, whether face to face or on line, to debate viewpoints arising from the diocesan questionnaire. I anticipate that these discussions will lead to a better understanding of each other, what we receive from our involvement in our church community and beyond, and what we can give in return. This, hopefully, will result in outcomes that could be used as signposts for what might follow, whether it be, for example, ideas for more involvement with the liturgy at Mass or ways of reaching out to our non-Catholic community.
The diocese wants all responses to be uploaded on line. We shall have a link to the diocese on our St Felix website to upload comments from each person who wishes to contribute. There won’t be an overall parish input. For those without access to electronic media, we’ll provide paper copies of the questions, and sheets for written responses. We shall ask for your authorisation to allow us to electronically transfer your handwritten responses to the diocesan website.
Before any discussion we are asked to pray together, Adsumus, a prayer inviting the Holy Spirit to guide us through our deliberations. This will be made available on line and in hard copy.