Over the course of the last six months there have been many gatherings and meetings taking place at a Diocesan level initiating the Synod process which will lead to a general Diocesan Assembly in October next year.
We are now entering a period of wider consultation and listening. Each parish and deanery has a number of Synod members who are now tasked with the responsibility of facilitating opportunities for people in their local parishes and area to take part in this wider synod process of listening.
The data from all this will then result in deciding on the key themes and issues which will be widely discussed at a later stage and result in various propositions and proposals to be considered at the final Synod gathering which will form the basis of the priorities for the Diocese in future years.
For a period of two weeks next month we want to offer a variety of opportunities for as many as people as possible from our Cathedral community to get involved and be a part of this wide consultation phase of the Synod process. In a Pastoral letter last year Archbishop Malcolm, in referring to the Synod process, wrote “I hope that there will be many different opportunities for all of our people to share their hopes, their fears and their dreams of the way the Holy Spirit is at work among us to bring fresh life to the church.”
We were encouraged to use our imagination and find different ways of speaking to people so this is how we propose to go about it here at the Cathedral. We will celebrate our own Synod Sunday on 23nd June. This will provide an opportunity to talk about and explain what is happening and at the end of Mass, for those who wish, to offer brief opportunities to talk to Synod members and make a response to the four Synod questions. Throughout the day on Tuesday 24th June we will have a street stall/ pop up gazebo on the Cathedral Piazza to get the views of parishioners, visitors and passers-by who will be in the vicinity of the Cathedral that day. There will be people on hand from the Cathedral and other Deanery members to talk to people and get responses from them – hopefully polite! There will also be two parish meetings to allow for a more reflective response to the Synod questions on Wednesday 26th June at 7pm or on Wednesday 3rdJuly at 2pm.
During this listening period we are asked toconsider four questions.
The first is ‘Where in your everyday life do you experience love, truth, goodness, hope and joy?’
The second is ’When you reflect on your life and look to the future what causes you concern or worry?
Third, ‘What is the purpose of the Catholic Church in the world today? (we interpreted this as ‘What does the church mean to you and what should its priorities be?)
Finally, ‘Having reflected on these things, what are the topics you would like to see on the agenda ofSynod2020?’
We pray that the Holy Spirit will guide all our parishes throughout this listening process.
This Thursday is the Feast of the Ascension, a Holy Day of Obligation. The Masses are at the same time as the normal weekday schedule with the evening Mass being a full choral celebration.
Canon Anthony O’Brien