WelCom December 2016:
Pope Francis has brought new emphases and new ways of thinking to many areas of Church life in the three years since he was elected. His words and actions challenge us to think about how we are Church.
A diocesan synod helps to establish the ‘communion and mission’ of a diocesan community – both indispensable aspects of the Church’s pastoral activities.
Diocesan synods have been held approximately every ten years in the Archdiocese of Wellington following a tradition of synodality established by Cardinal Tom Williams. ‘If we follow this pattern it is the time for another synod,’ says Cardinal John Dew. ‘But more pressingly, Pope Francis is re-shaping our priorities and attitudes, and we need to respond at the grassroots level to his vision.
‘The last two archdiocesan synods focused on liturgy, youth and young adults, family, welcoming communities, adult education, social justice. These are all essential parts of the life of the Church but are mostly internal matters with focus on ourselves rather than on our mission.
‘The parish amalgamation process has required us to have a strong internal focus over the last few years. There is more work to be done within parishes to further the amalgamation at a practical level, and to deepen communion in our parishes. But that communion must extend further, because Pope Francis
is challenging us strongly to ‘go out’.
‘In both his words and actions, Pope Francis consistently challenges us to rethink our approach and priorities. He returns to certain themes again and again: the peripheries of society; our own peripheries; refugees and migrants; care for creation; ecumenism; interfaith relations; accompanying the young. Our own archdiocesan themes include: leadership; ethnic diversity in the Archdiocese; prayer and discernment.
‘Pope Francis is charting directions for us which many people in our parishes may know little about. The 2017 Synod is a unique and timely opportunity for us to reflect on how we can be a Church that is at the service of the world around us. For this reason I believe that themes such as those above need to be put before the people for their consideration in the parish consultation process, in order to widen people’s thinking beyond what they currently experience in their parish.’
Cardinal John Dew has announced the fifth Synod for the Archdiocese of Wellington is to take place in 2017. Cardinal John’s Bishop’s Decree Convoking the 2017 Archdiocesan Synod has been issued 8 December 2016. To view the convocation Convoking Synod Lt