Communion, Participation, Mission
Pope Francis has invited the entire Catholic Church around the world to take part in a listening journey. This is a process of discernment under the guidance of the Holy Spirit which will form the agenda of the Synod of Bishops in 2023.
As a church, we are being asked to reflect on how we respond to today’s problems and needs, and upon how we become a listening Church. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Plymouth is starting its listening journey in Advent and will be gathering views and responses through to February 2022.
We are invited to listen to each other from our hearts, not to respond or solve particular issues or concerns, but simply to discern and listen to the Holy Spirit. Responses will be gathered in the parish, passed on anonymously to the Diocese, and ultimately, the Vatican.
MESSAGE FROM BISHOP MARK O’TOOLE
A two-year ‘synodal’ process is taking place in the Catholic Church from October 2021 that culminates in the final Synod Gathering of Bishops in Rome in October 2023. The overall theme is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission”. Pope Francis will open the Synodal Journey in Rome on 10th October. We will be launching our diocesan phase on Sunday, 17th October with Mass in our Cathedral. This will be followed a week or so later with an online gathering to introduce the Synodal journey.
The first phase of the Synodal Process is a time of listening in local churches. We propose that this phase takes place in parishes during the Season of Advent. The aim is to foster as broad a consultation as possible, reaching out to integrate the voice of the poor and the excluded, and not only engaging those who have some role or responsibility within the local parish. Our Diocese has already started its Synodal journey through some discussions and submissions made through ‘A Precious Place of God’s Grace’ and we will build on what has been shared so far.
Each parish will have scope to adapt the listening phase to local circumstances and guidance and resources will be provided. The process will culminate in a Diocesan pre-synodal meeting in February/March 2022.
We hope that everyone will take part in this opportunity to have a say in our future Mission.