The Continental Response to the Synod - a call for views.
Following the release of the working document for the Continental stage of the Synod entitled ‘Enlarge the Space of your Tent’ (Isaiah 54:2) the Bishops of England and Wales met last week and discussed the next step. Instructions have been issued by Rome that the working document should be read and responded to by the people of the dioceses. Once again, the timing does not make this easy, but Bishop Declan is inviting as many people as possible to respond either as parishes or as individuals so that he can make his contribution to the report that will go to Prague in February 2023.
We are sincerely aware that this is an extremely busy time of year. However, we know that there will be several of you who would like the opportunity to read and respond to the working document.
To support this process and to help you to respond, we are offering a choice two online sessions to allow you to understand the content of the document and to explain to you the three questions to which we are being asked to respond. The sessions will last 90 minutes. Rev. Dr. Jan Nowotnik will facilitate these sessions for us. They will take place on 15th December at 7pm and 17th December at 10am. You only need to attend one. We had hoped to gather people physically, but the imminent train strikes have made that impossible for us.
As a way of preparation for the sessions we are sending you a copy of our own diocesan report, ‘Listening with the Heart’ as a reminder to you of what emerged from our own submissions, just click on the link: https://cliftondiocese.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Synodal-response-booklet.pdf
The working document ‘Enlarge the Space of your Tent’ (DCS) and a ‘Frequently asked questions’ about the process which are attached to this page for you to read.
We are being asked to look at the DCS and consider it in the following three ways which appear in section 4 of the working document – paragraph 106ff.
- “After having read and prayed with the DCS, which intuitions resonate most strongly with the lived experiences and realities of the Church in your continent? Which experiences are new, or illuminating to you?”
- “After having read and prayed with the DCS, what substantial tensions or divergences emerge as particularly important in your continent’s perspective? Consequently, what are the questions or issues that should be addressed and considered in the next steps of the process?”
- “Looking at what emerges from the previous two questions, what are the priorities, recurring themes and calls to action that can be shared with other local Churches around the world and discussed during the First Session of the Synodal Assembly in October 2023?”
Fr. Jan will help us to fully understand what these questions are asking of us. Following his presentations there will be an opportunity to ask questions.
We will then be asking you to submit a response to each of these three areas in no more than 250 words per question. All the feedback we receive relating to the questions will be collated and Bishop Declan will consider the feedback and base his response on what he hears from us. We appreciate that, due to the timings, it will be almost impossible for parishes to gather synod groups together so there is no expectation that this happens. However, if any of the groups in your parish would like to arrange a gathering to join the online meeting – this is more than acceptable. It might provide you with an opportunity to discuss as a group after the session. To participate online please sign up via Eventbrite:
15th December (7pm): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/synod-the-next-step-1-tickets-475082633947
17th December (10am): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/synod-the-next-step-2-tickets-475084880667
The deadline for submissions is 3rd January. This gives just enough time to collate and for Bishop Declan to forward his response to Bishops’ Conference by 20th January.
Even if you cannot attend either of the meetings you are still invited to contribute your response in writing and send it to Synod@cliftondiocese.com.
Please do pray about this and invoke the Holy Spirit to guide you in your responses.
Director for the Department of Adult Education and Evangelisation
This page has information about our Parish's work for the synod.
A synod is not just a survey 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. This is best done in meetings, in groups of perhaps 6, led by a facilitator. Everyone will have the chance to speak for 2 minutes, about issues relevant to the synod, and there will be no discussion or argument. The focus as asked of us by Pope Francis is to listen to each other. Every point made was noted down, these notes went forward to be collated into our Parish response to the synod.
As Fr David Mills said during Sunday Mass on 13th February - as a result of our synod, there will be action in the Parish. We already have plans for more catechesis for parishioners, details about this and other initiatives will be made known through the newsletter, this website and our App.
The Parish, Diocesan and National reports are accessible from the buttons below.
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.