The Synodal Process in the Diocese of Waterford & Lismore
What do we mean by “Synodality”?
Pope Francis has called for a world-wide Synod on Synodality to culminate in Rome in the Autumn of 2023. A synod is a council of the Church usually convened to think and pray and discern together on a specific topic. Simply put ‘synodality’ means ‘journeying together’. Pope Francis explained that the Synod provides “Time to look others in the eye and listen to what they have to say, to build rapport, to be sensitive to the questions of our sisters and brothers, to let ourselves be enriched by the variety of charisms, vocations, and ministries.”
This is a noble goal and one which we would all desire. How can we make it more a reality in our Church? We should remember that many in our Diocese and our parishes are already trying to journey with others. It is not as if we have no collaboration or listening going on. Far from it. There are numerous examples of ‘synodality’ in terms of Parish Pastoral Councils, Finance Committees, Senate of Priests, care of the sick and elderly parishioners, parish meetings, Alpha courses, parish events, etc. We should honour what we already have.
But we know that large numbers of people are, for whatever reason or reasons, estrange from the practice of the faith. This synod is a call to face this issue head on. We have a duty to reach out. All the baptised are called to the mission of holiness, inviting others to come closer to Christ and live as He asks us to. So many are walking in other directions.
How will this process work?
To accomplish this, Pope Francis wants deep conversations with others, listening to their stories. Everyone has his or her story. But first of all, the Holy Father says we need to listen to the Holy Spirit. Trying to find out, to discern what the Holy Spirit is saying is key. He says we need to set aside:
“…Time to devote to prayer and adoration — this prayer that we neglect so much: to adore, to make room for adoration — listening to what the Spirit wants to say to the Church.”
Synodality in our Diocese:
We are offering various options for all who wish to participate in the synodal conversations:
- Parishes or clusters of Parishes throughout the diocese will offer sessions in a relaxed environment to express what they truly feel to move our Church forward on the synodal pathway, united in communion, participation and mission. The dates for these sessions are as follows: Cahir House Hotel on Monday 25th April. Cappoquin Community Centre on Tuesday 26th April. St. Paul’s Parish Centre on Wednesday 27th April. Minella Hotel, Clonmel on Thursday 28th April. Dungarvan Park Hotel on Tueday 3rd May. Glor na Mara School Hall, Tramore on Wednesday 4th May. St. John’s Pastoral Centre on Thursday 5th May and Monday 9th May. All evening faith conversations will begin at 7.30pm.
- Those who wish to do so, may fill out the simple questionnaire and submit their thoughts and reflections online.
Together, let us move our Church forward on the synodal pathway, united in communion, participation and mission!
May the Holy Spirit guide you and all of us on the journey.
Over the past months, faith conversations took place around the diocese as we began to form our Diocesan Synthesis for the Synod. Thank you to everyone who took part in this process and to those who helped the Diocesan Task Force Team to complete the project on time. The findings had to be returned to the national task force team, and presented in 10 pages. A narrative was put on the themes that came up, so that all that was said is contained in the document. You may read the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore Synthesis by clicking HERE
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
- The Synodal Pathway for the Catholic Church in Ireland: https://synod.ie/
- The Universal Synod 2021 – 2023: https://www.synod.va/en.html
- Click here for a detailed description of the Synod timeline: https://synod.ie/timeline/