An update on the Synod process

Cardinal John’s newsletter | 24th November 2022

Kia tau te rangimārie ki a koutou

For many months now thousands of people have engaged in “spiritual conversations” as part of the process of preparing for the Synod: “For a Synodal Church, communion, participation, mission.” I thank all who have participated so far, your voices have been heard, and I remind you that the time of listening and discernment is not over yet. We have continued the conversations as part of the preparation for our part in the Continental Stage of the Synod.

So far, we have gathered for “spiritual conversations” in various communities, parishes, schools and many Church organizations. We have had an Archdiocesan Synod Day (Our Lady of Kapiti church on 28th May), and our conversations were brought together as a diocesan synthesis and then discussed with the other five dioceses at a national Synod Day at St Catherine’s College on 2nd July. The New Zealand synthesis then became one of the 112 Bishops Conference syntheses which were read by an international team who spent two weeks engaged in “spiritual conversations” as they prepared the Document for the Continental Stage. It is a wonderful document entitled “Enlarge the space of your tent” (Isaiah 54:2) and already groups around the Archdiocese have been reflecting on this document.

I want you to know that your voices have been heard. From reading what has come from countries all around the world it is clear to that Synodality has ceased to be an abstract concept. People have savoured the taste of spiritual conversations and want to continue to do so. The experience of listening to one another, starting from listening to the word of God, has reawakened in many people the idea and the desire to be involved in the life of the Church.

Many communities have understood Synodality as an invitation to listen to those who feel unwelcome in our Church communities, and they are asking us to be a Church for the wounded and the broken, not an institution for the perfect. Many have emphasized that this was the first time the Church had asked for their opinion and they wish to continue this journey.  

The message of the Synod is simple: we are learning to walk together and to sit with one another to break the one Bread, so that everyone can find their place. Everyone is called to take part in this journey, no one is excluded. We are called to do this so that we can credibly proclaim the gospel of Jesus to all.

Thank you for the way you have participated so far, and please continue to pray and look for ways in parishes, schools and other Church-based organizations to engage in “spiritual conversations”.

With every blessing.

Nāku noa. Nā

+ John

Read the working Synod document for the Continental stage here.