Over the last eight weeks, Father Frank O’Loughlin has been sharing with us reflections and research on the whole idea of synodality and the Plenary Council. If you missed this eight-part series, you might have time over the long weekend to sit down with a coffee and have a catch-up read! (Plenary Council series).
As Frank has told us the word synodality is, in many ways, a new word for the Catholic Church. The type of Church that Pope Francis is trying to create by leading us down the pathway of synodality is one that is characterised by communion, participation and mission.
Synodality is about travelling together, all members of the Church, all the baptised, no matter what gifts one has or what position one holds.
To that end Pope Francis is preparing for a Synod on Synodality in 2023. In other words, he is preparing for a gathering of the Church to discuss how together, all believers, can grow further into communion with one another and have a deeper participation in the life of the Church and in its mission.
As we know on the first weekend of October representatives of the dioceses from around Australia will gather, in a virtual way, to begin the Plenary Council. This is an example of synodality. Representatives from all dioceses will gather to discuss where they believe God is asking the Church to be now in Australia.
In the meantime Pope Francis has invited every parish and every diocese in the world to begin a synodal process on Sunday, 17 October this year. Our parishes will take up this invitation. We are planning to have a combined parishes meeting on that day. Given that we will still be in lockdown we will need to meet via Zoom. We do hope, however, that as many of you as possible will be able to join us. We will be able to give a report on the life of our parishes over the last year and start to share plans for the future and provide the opportunity for you to have your say. Details of this meeting will be available in next week’s newsletter, as well as the opportunity to register your intention to participate.
The last two years have been very difficult for us to gather together. Our meeting on 17 October will be a real opportunity for us to connect once more and to think about what kind of parish communities we wish to be as we emerge from lockdown and from the global pandemic.
Fr Brendan Reed