Launch of Synodal Pathway


17 OCTOBER 2021

On Sunday last, 10 October, Pope Francis launched a two-year gathering
process, a period of preparation for a Universal Synod in Rome in 2023. It
essentially will be a gathering of gatherings, a ‘synod of synods’ as a result of as
much consultation and discernment as possible in every parish, diocese and
archdiocese across the globe. Today, in all its parishes, the Dublin diocesan
Synod is being officially launched. It is my hope that we will gather, discuss
and discern here in Sruleen. As always, collectively, we can only get from it
what we put into it in the first instance. It is not dependent on the priest, any
Pope Francis has shared that in order to avoid a clerical elitism, and by virtue of
the baptism of all the faith family, the involvement of as many as possible is the
best path towards discerning the will of God in a world that has been
experiencing huge changes in so many ways. Gatherings are an attempt to tap
into the promptings of the Holy Spirit and to try to discover how God is calling
us to live as people of faith within our own local communities in a spirit of
invitation and welcome for others to walk with us or to walk with us again.
Needless to say, It’s also part of a concerted effort to bolster and support each
other along the journey of faith in a society that is not only increasingly
individualistic and secular in outlook but antagonistic to the practice of faith.
Such local, collective gatherings are not intellectual enterprises about who
knows the most or knows best. Rather, it’s about providing people the chance to
express themselves, and to share their personal and faith-stories in an
atmosphere of acceptance and openness, listening, consulting, and discerning
the Spirit of God at work among us. Pope Francis says that the gatherings in
preparation for local Synods and for the Universal Synod are about walking the
same journey of faith together conscious of differences and challenges. Local
Synods are not to be viewed as some kind of local parliament or political
convention with participants hanging on to their own vested interests, or where
decisions are made by whoever is the most vocal in the group, or by whichever
seeks to carry the most votes. Quoting a French theologian, Yves Congar, Pope
Francis has said, “There is no need to create a new church, but to create a
different church,” adding ‘a church open to the newness that God wants to
suggest.’ Such a newness implies change. We cannot continue as we are (my
words). The only thing that doesn’t change is change itself!!

The Parish Pastoral Council will be meeting soon and begin the process of
working out our own local pathway toward the Dublin Diocesan Synod. We
hope the gathering-format is possible. If not, we will need to consider other
alternatives in trying to tap the thoughts and stories, the desires and hopes of as
many people and groups as possible. Needless to say, you will kept informed!
I finish with a quote from Pope Francis when he said of the Universal Synod
and equally applicable to our own upcoming one in Dublin. He said, “May this
Synod be a true season of the spirit…we need the spirit, the ever-new breath of
God, who sets us free from every form of self-absorption, revives what is
moribund, loosens shackles and spreads joy…The Holy Spirit guides us to
where God wants us to be, not to where our own ideas and personal tastes
would lead us.” The process is separate from, yet connected with the severe
problems with finances and priest personnel in this diocese. Again, we cannot
continue as we currently do for much longer. The archbishop is on record as
saying this some months ago now.
As part of the launch of the Synodal preparations or pathway here in Dublin, the
Chairperson of our Parish Pastoral Council, Hugh O’Neill will attend a Liturgy
today at the Pro-Cathedral.

Synodal Resources can be found here:

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