Archbishop’s column [June 2006] honouring the pray-ers for the synod

While delegates and others connected with the archdiocese were engaged in the Archdiocesan Synod at the beginning of June, the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart was almost constantly packed with people praying for the Holy Spirit to inspire those at the synod

Archbishop’s column

Honouring those who prayed during the synod

We’re salt and light together, Lord

we come to do your will,

preserving all the goodness

with which your world is filled.’

The above words by Fr James Lyons [music by Ella Buchanan Hanify] are from the synod song which was sung over the synod weekend. There is no doubt for me that those words are true and most appropriate.

My column this month is one of the ways I am able to say thank you to so many people. Thank you for the fact that hundreds of people came together over many months to prepare for the synod and over 300 participated in the synod weekend itself. It was very clear to me that there was enormous goodwill, great energy and enthusiasm, and a wonderful sense of us all working together to build on the great gifts of the past years and to plan for the future. We were doing this so that together, laity and clergy, we might all use our gifts to plan for the best possible Church we can be.

So many people commented on the real sense of togetherness, the spirit of willingness, people working very hard, and everyone doing all that they could to ensure that in the words of that synod song, ‘together, preserving all the goodness with which your world is filled’, God’s world is filled with goodness, God’s people are filled with goodness.

At the end of the synod, I publicly thanked the archdiocesan planning team, the topic and group facilitators, the resource people who provided such wonderful, thoughtful information, all the synod participants and the very generous volunteers who worked so hard to ensure the smooth running of the synod.

However, there were others who were not seen in the synod hall over the weekend but were still very much present: the pray-ers. From after the opening Mass on Friday night until the closing Mass late on Sunday afternoon, people came to the cathedral to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and for the success of the synod.

I express deep gratitude to those parish groups and organisations, and the many individuals who responded to the invitation to come to the cathedral and pray.

At varying times over the weekend, when some of the groups were struggling to find the right words, or to see where they should go next, they paused for a moment and became aware of those praying for them in the cathedral. At one stage, on the Saturday afternoon, when I was anxious about what was happening, I went into the cathedral and was deeply moved and heartened when I saw so many people at prayer. My thanks, too, to all of you who offered prayers in your parishes.

The synod weekend is over but much work still needs to be done. The future statements and the propositions which were formulated now need to be worked on. I will be doing this with a group of advisers over the next several weeks.

I invite you once again to continue your prayers so that the ongoing work of the synod will also be blessed. As you do that, I acknowledge you as the people of God who are ‘salt and light together’ – people who are doing all you can to ‘preserve all the goodness with which God’s world is filled’.

Archbishop John Dew