About Synod and Synod Facilitators
“Synod” simply means ’journeying together’ and there have been many synods since the time of the early Church. The Universal Synod (or synod for the whole world) next year will focus on how we can journey together better, or be more synodal, as a Church going forward. We are also hoping that this listening will help with a National Synod here in Ireland which is due to take place in the next 4 years.
You are warmly invited to two Synodal gatherings in March here in the parish. These gatherings will be an opportunity to share and listen to each other’s experience of Church, in an organised, gentle and prayerful environment. This invitation is for everyone, those who come to church and those who do not, and the feedback from the gatherings will be collected and passed onto Church leaders in time for the 2023 Synod.
People of our parish, called Animators, have been trained to lead the gatherings. Questions will be presented each evening and people will get into small groups to share on each question and listen to each other. Each small group will have a leader who will ensure that everyone have the opportunity to participate and will collect the responses from the group. Please remember we are being asked to listen with understanding, to respect each other’s experiences, and to try to walk in the other person’s shoes. It is not an opportunity to debate or convince someone of our opinions. It would be important to spend some time thinking about these questions in advance of the gatherings.
There will be two questions each evening and the questions are:
When you think of your experience of Church, what brings joy?
When you think of your experience of Church, what brings sorrow?
When you think of your experience of Church, what brings hope?
When you think of your experience of Church, what brings fear or anxiety?
After the meetings have been held the feedback will be sorted into similar themes. These will form the basis for a Report to the Diocesan Synodal Committee and will be incorporated into the Dublin Diocese overall report for the Synod. The feedback will also helpful for the Parish Team and Parish Pastoral Council.
The gatherings will be held on the 15th and the 22nd of March in St. Francis Xavier’s Church, Gardiner Street Parish. If you would like to know more, visit the Dublin Diocesan website www.dublindiocese.ie/synod.
Finally, this is an important moment for our Church, and Pope Francis has asked us to keep the synodal process in our prayers. We are at a crossroads in the Church today and we pray that this intervention by Pope Francis, supported by all the baptised, will bear much good fruit.