This page has information about our Parish's work for the synod.
A synod is not just a simple gathering together of opinions of the faithful, leading to a report some time down the line. Nor is it a parliament or representative body, as in other denominations. It is a journeying together, not an event, and all are invited to participate through prayer, discussion and above all, listening to one another, for the entire time of the synod.
World Wide Synod called by Pope Francis takes place from 2021 to 2023
How will the synodal process work in Parishes in Clifton Diocese?
It is asked that small groups of people - perhaps up to 8 at a time, meet together with a facilitator, to pray, ponder and then to share their thoughts about the Parish, Wider community in which we live, Diocese, and global church. Meetings can be physical, or online and can consist of larger groups - in which case the meeting might well be divided into smaller breakout groups to allow for a freer and fuller sharing. Everyone, from all parts of our community including those not frequently attending church - is invited to these meetings.
Group meetings will start with prayer ideally in the presence of the blessed sacrament, then a time of sharing in which all present may speak uninterrupted for a few minutes. There will not be discussion at these meetings (there might well be at other times - but a synod is not a time for discussion). Meetings will then end with prayer - the prayer of the church appropriate to the time of day being suggested.
There are a number of questions designed to promote this thought process which are summarised below. The facilitators will collate the results, and gather them together in the Parish. This will result in a report to go on to the Diocesan discernment process.
In February, there will be a number of diocesan days for further prayer, reflection and sharing, which together with the documents provided by Parishes, will lead to the preparation of a diocesan document. It is hoped that these facilitated meetings and Diocesan days will continue the good work already done in the diocese through the 'People of Hope' process.
The image to the right, contains a link to the diocesan page where the papal documentation inviting us to participate in this synod can be found together with other resources.
Every session of the Second Vatican Council began with the prayer Adsumus Sancte Spiritus, the first word of the Latin original meaning, “We stand before You, Holy Spirit,” which has been historically used at Councils, Synods and other Church gatherings for hundreds of years, being attributed to Saint Isidore of Seville (c. 560 - 4 April 636). As we are called to embrace this synodal path of the Synod 2021-2023, this prayer invites the Holy Spirit to operate within us so that we may be a community and a people of grace. For the Synod 2021-2023, we propose to use this simplified version, so that any group or liturgical assembly can pray more easily.
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.
Questions for meetings to consider
The fundamental question that guides this consultation of the People of God, is the following:
A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, “journeys together:” How is this “journeying together” happening today in your particular Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “journeying together”?
The following table provides ten topics which each meeting might consider (but this is not an exclusive list). Each meeting does not need to address all of these! Facilitators will attempt to record the points made at each meeting within this framework, in order to simplify the process of Parish and later, diocesan collation of the discernment.
Ten topics that meetings might consider
- COMPANIONS ON THE JOURNEY
- SPEAKING OUT
- SHARING RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR COMMON MISSION
- DIALOGUE IN CHURCH AND SOCIETY
- AUTHORITY AND PARTICIPATION
- DISCERNING AND DECIDING
- FORMING OURSELVES IN SYNODALITY