The international Synod on Synodality is conducting feedback on aspects of the final synthesis report issued after the October 2023 session in Rome. The Assembly was attended by 464 representatives from the five continents, 365 with voting rights. You can read the synthesis report here. As part of the preparation for the Synod Assembly this year in October 2024, Fr. Chris Thomas, Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, has asked each Diocese to reflect on the synthesis report and to submit any feedback. Because of the tight timings for this, he wants us to submit our Diocesan feedback by mid-March. To focus this task, I would like us in the Diocese to consider three areas of the synthesis report related to communion, participation and mission that fit in well with our ten-year strategy You Will be My Witnesses. These are Entering the Community of Faith: Christian Initiation (PART I: PROPOSAL M and K), the Church is Mission (PART II PROPOSAL N and O) and A synodal approach to formation (PART III PROPOSAL K and L). In other words, typical questions here would include: How can we better initiate children and adults into Christian discipleship and the life of Christ’s Church? How as a Diocese can we be more missionary? And how might we form people more effectively in the Gospel and the teaching of the Church?
Over these next weeks, I will be consulting some of our usual clergy groups such as the Bishop’s Council, Coordinating Pastors, the Council of Priests as well as clergy in Pastoral Area meetings and Deaneries. But to broaden this to the laity and the whole Diocese, I would like to invite your feedback by email directly to our Synod Coordinator, Fr. John Chandler (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please mark the email clearly ‘SYNOD’ and indicate your name, address and parish. Please also keep strictly to the three areas outlined in order to make the task of collation feasible. Although Fr. John and his team will be unable to engage in a discussion, I know they will be very grateful for your input. Our thanks to you – and to him – for this work.