How to Get Involved with the Synod as a Parish Group

Tuesday 4th January 2022

The New Year is a time to reflect and look forward. It’s the perfect time to get involved with the Synod, an opportunity to share your thoughts on the future of the Church. This article explains how to participate in this important process as a parish group.

Pope Francis, following on from his invitation in 2013 for us to become “missionary disciples”, has called a Universal Synod which is taking place in every Catholic diocese across the world. The Synod is themed: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission”. This two-year journey’s (2021-23) goal is for all members of the Church to be heard. Find out more here.

We have Tuesday 1st March 2022 to submit our diocesan response for the Synod. Eventually, after diocesan, national, and continental gatherings, the Synod of Bishops will gather in Rome in 2023 to reflect on what has been heard.

You can take part in the Synod individually or as a parish group.

If you decide to hold an in-person gathering, please make sure that the meeting place chosen is well-ventilated, face masks are worn, social distancing observed and hand sanitiser is provided. Read the latest government guidance here.

We invite your group to think on the question posed by Pope Francis:

A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, ‘journeys together.’ How is this ‘journeying together’ happening today in your local Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our ‘journeying together’? (PD 26)

To begin with, download the Parish Feedback Sheet as a Word document here: Parish Feedback Sheet (Word) or as a PDF here: Parish Feedback Sheet (PDF)

This Feedback Sheet should be used to direct your meeting. Your answers will be carefully considered in our diocesan response.

We advise that you take around 2 hours for this group meeting, and that you appoint a group facilitator, timekeeper and notetaker.

This is an exercise of prayerful listening. It is therefore important to foster a peaceful and reflective atmosphere. Think carefully about the environment you choose to hold the meeting in.

Prayerful listening “begins with silence before the Lord, and continues with our own attentive listening as we talk together. There is a constant movement from silence to dialogue and back to silence so as to enable the truth of what the Lord is saying to us to emerge and become concrete” – Facilitating a Parish Gathering

Suggested Schedule (for a 2-hour period) – timing can be changed/shortened/extended

  1. The facilitator welcomes the participants and begins with a short period of prayer, include a fitting passage from Scripture (10 minutes)
  2. Introduce or appoint someone to take notes (2 minutes)
  3. Ask for a volunteer as a timekeeper (2 minutes)
  4. Set the tone for the Discernment Circle and describe the process (6 minutes)
  5. First round of sharing (40 minutes) – make bullet points on the Parish Feedback Sheet
  6. Break (10 minutes)
  7. Second round of sharing (45 minutes) – agree a common response on the Feedback Sheet
  8. Invite members to share a prayer of thanksgiving, perhaps including a song (5 minutes)

You can read our comprehensive guidance on conducting a parish gathering here: Facilitating a Parish Gathering

In this document you will also find suggested prayers for use throughout your meeting.

For more information and resources, click here.

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