PARISHES ENGAGE WITH THE SYNOD PROCESS
Parishes around the Archdiocese are starting to engage with the Synod process. Our Church Mission Synod Team have been busy visiting parishes and working with leadership teams and pastoral councils, guiding them through the process and enabling them to facilitate Synod groups in their communities. Some are running open events for anyone to participate. Others have started by engaging groups already established within the Parish, such as stewardship groups, liturgy committees, teaching staff at the local school, prayer groups and even the parish book club!
The process is not complicated, and can easily be done among family and friends. The key is to remember that it is a spiritual conversation, rather than a discussion, and that prayer is key to the whole process. A simple guide to the process can be found below.
Please note that the deadline for submissions has now been extended to 30th April 2022.
If you would like to find out more, please get in touch! Contact Chris or Lucienne at 04 496 1706 / 04 496 1715 or firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
TAKE PART IN THE SYNOD
“Do you want to be part of this great adventure? Read, listen, share, dialogue with others, have your say in the consultation process…”
THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION
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”?
To help us reflect on the fundamental question, ten themes of “lived synodality” are offered – themes such as listening, participation, decision-making and others. You will find these in the Synod Booklet (available for download below). PLEASE PICK A THEME THAT IS MOST RELEVANT TO YOU. You do not need to respond to all ten themes.
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE
READ and REFLECT on the materials provided. Download the Synod Booklet (see below) – the reflection/discernment process is clearly outlined in this booklet which has been prepared specifically for our Archdiocese. A simpler version of the questions and themes is also available. For the full Synod Preparatory Documents please visit www.synod.va
CONTACT YOUR PARISH to find out how you can join or lead a Synod Reflection Group. Synodality is all about journeying together. Reflecting with others is the best way to engage with this process.
GET TOGETHER WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY and form your own group! You will find some tips on how you can do this in the Synod Booklet.
REACH OUT to those who no longer feel connected to the Church and invite them to take part. Pope Francis really wants to hear from them too!
SUBMIT YOUR RESPONSE
E-MAIL: Download the Word document “Synod participation response” below. Email your response in Word format to firstname.lastname@example.org.
POSTAL RESPONSE: handwrite or type your response to the questions and post it to: Office of the Archbishop, Archdiocese of Wellington, PO Box 1937, Wellington 6140.
VERBAL RESPONSE: if there are reasons why you find it difficult to make a written response you are welcome to ring us to see if it is possible to provide a verbal response. Call 04 496 1715.
YOUR BAPTISM CALLS
“I want you to be involved in this Synod process. Your baptism calls you and entitles you to be involved…. I am looking forward very much to your involvement in imagining a different future for the Church. Please use this opportunity, it is essential that we do so. This Synod sets out to change the fact that most of the people of God have been passive spectators for years. You can help to change that. Please take up the invitation to be involved in this Synod process.” Cardinal John Dew
“There is no need to create another church, but to create a different church…”
Pope Francis, 9 October 2021
HELPFUL RESOURCES FOR PARISHES
Listening – Discernment – Journey – Mission – Future – Sharing – Creativity – Communion – Authenticity
These are some of the themes we will be reflecting on in the coming weeks as we embark on a journey with Catholics around the world. In the words of Pope Francis, “we need creativity of the Gospel, not ‘a defensive Catholicism”. This global synod gives us all the opportunity to listen to the Holy Spirit, reflect on what it means to be the People of God journeying together, and be creative as we imagine a Church of the future where all are welcome and nobody is left behind.
The purpose of the Synod is to CONNECT, ENGAGE and INSPIRE.
“…the purpose of this Synod is not to produce more documents. Rather, it is intended to inspire people to dream about the Church we are called to be, to make people’s hopes flourish, to stimulate trust, to bind up wounds, to weave new and deeper relationships, to learn from one another, to build bridges, to enlighten minds, warm hearts, and restore strength to our hands for our common mission” (Synod Preparatory Document)
Pope Francis has convoked a Synod, inviting the whole Church to question itself on synodality: a decisive theme for the life and mission of the Church. On Sunday 17th October 2021, every diocese in the world will celebrate the opening of this Synod : “For a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission”. The Synod will have three phases (diocesan, continental, universal) of consultations and discernment, culminating with the XVI Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome in 2023. In his recent message to the Diocese of Rome (18 September 2021), Pope Francis said: “I have come here to encourage you to take this synodical process seriously and to tell you that the Holy Spirit needs you… Listen to Him by listening to yourselves and do not leave anyone out or behind”. This holds not only for those present, but for the whole of the Church, “which is not strengthened only by reforming structures, giving instructions, offering retreats and conferences, or by dint of directives and programmes, but if it rediscovers that it is a people that deires to walk together, among itself and with humanity. A people which contains the variety of all peoples and all conditions: what an extraordinary richness, in its complexity!”
“The Holy Father wants to hear the voices of all the baptised. He believes the time is ripe for a wider participation of the people of God in a decision-making process that affects the whole Church and everyone in it.” (Cardinal John Dew)
The Diocesan Phase
Pope Francis has indeed asked all Catholic dioceses around the world to start consulting with parishioners from October 17 to hear the voices of the People of God. In the Archdiocese of Wellington, this consultation will happen through parishes, schools, faith communities and individual submissions. “After that consultation, the New Zealand bishops will meet early next year to listen to what the Spirit has inspired in the churches entrusted to us,” says Cardinal John. The Bishops’ synthesis of the diocesan consultations will then form part of an Oceania document which will be submitted to the Synod of Bishops in 2023.
You are invited to participate in this global synodal journey by taking the time to pray and reflect on how we journey – both individually and with others. Parish leadership teams and pastoral councils are encouraged to make time for this process within their teams, and to organise opportunities for parishioners’ participation. People are encouraged to come together within established groups or informally with friends to engage with the process. Those who cannot participate in the group discernment process are welcome to make individual submissions. We encourage everyone to take part, and to find creative ways to engage others in the process.