On 7 March 2020, Pope Francis announced a synod “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission”. In May 2021, the Synodal process was changed into a three-year journey for every diocese worldwide, culminating in Rome in 2023. Pope Francis wants everyone to participate. He wants to hear the voice of all the baptised, especially those whose voices are seldom heard.
Our diocese hasn’t had a Synod before, so this is new territory for us. With the blessing of Cardinal John Dew, the Archdiocese of Wellington have offered to share their experience with us to help us in our process. Right now, we are in the process of creating a team to plan and lead our diocesan synod. They will be responsible for resourcing parish communities, for promoting the synod and for encouraging participation. Finally, they will bring our submissions together into a single document. Everyone is invited to make a submission.
The synodal process is both a global and local experience. Pope Francis is addressing the whole world and we want to do our very best to respond and involve as many people as possible. Given the expansiveness and importance of this project, I think we need to give of our best, including making use of our best people. In my experience, good consultation demands everyone’s input, right from the outset. So, please give some prayerful thought about how we can all best approach this project to give us the best results. In this case the widest and most comprehensive feedback to share with our bishops and lay people who will meet with Pope Francis in 2023.
Ehara taku toa, i te toa takitahi,ēngari e toa takitini.
My success is not mine alone, it is ours
The greatest success we will have is from working together.
Where to from here?
Please look at the official website https://www.synod.va/en.html
Don’t be put off by the church language; the team will address this issue.
The Synod process will begin with an Opening Mass on Sunday 17 October at 6.00pm Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Palmerston North. Everyone is welcome to attend. On that day each parish will mark the beginning of the Synod celebrate at Sunday Eucharist.
The consultation process will begin in each parish. More information will follow about this from the organising team.
We will hold a pre-synodal meeting with representatives from across the diocese. The details will follow later this year.
Lastly, and most importantly, this work of creating a synodal church will only bear fruit if we make it a prayerful experience and open ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. One of the documents we have received so far encourages the use of an adaptation of a prayer (Adsumus Sancte Spiritus) that was used at each of the Vatican II sessions and various Synods since then.
With every good wish and blessing,
Fr. Craig Butler
More information is available at pndiocese.org.nz/synod