The Synod

What is the Synod?

A Synod is a gathering of the Church to discuss important issues and advise the Pope accordingly. Since 1965, the process has involved Bishops from all over the world meeting in Rome. Pope Francis wants to change this to ensure that every Catholic can play an active part. This is an exciting opportunity for us to help shape the future of our Church.

Over the next two years, the Synod invites us, as Catholics, to journey together as the pilgrim people of God. This is appropriate as the word ‘synod’ literally means ‘journey together’. All of us are being encouraged to prayerfully reflect on our experiences and think about how the Church should be in the third millennium. We will share our thoughts with each other, listening carefully to discern what the Holy Spirit is telling us.

The Synod asks us two fundamental questions:

  • How well do we ‘journey together’ in our parish and diocese to proclaim the Gospel?
  • What steps does the Holy Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our ‘journeying together’?

These questions are explored through three themes: communion, participation and mission.

What has happened so far?

Almost 100 parishioners participated in our Synodal discussion groups early in 2022. The older children in our primary school also contributed their views. The outcomes of all these discussions were synthesised into a detailed summary shared with the Diocese. You can read this in Synod Newsletter No. 7 (downloadable below).

After a period of discernment, Bishop Richard shared his synthesis of all the views submitted across the Diocese. You can see his presentation here. A written summary was also shared with the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. You can download this below.

The Bishops’ Conference is currently finalising their national synthesis. This is expected to be available in early July. It will be shared with all bishops in Europe for the continental stage of the Synodal process.

As we closely follow the continuing Synodal journey, here at St Joseph’s we are also investigating how we can follow up issues and suggestions that were made during the discussions held in our parish. Fr Bill has asked a core group of parishioners to look at how this can best be done. Their work has recently begun.


Prayer for the Synod

We stand before You, Holy Spirit,
as we gather together in Your name.

With You alone to guide us,
make Yourself at home in our hearts;
Teach us the way we must go
and how we are to pursue it.

We are weak and sinful;
do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path
nor partiality influence our actions.

Let us find in You our unity
so that we may journey together to eternal life
and not stray from the way of truth
and what is right.

All this we ask of You,
who are at work in every place and time,
in the communion of the Father and the Son,
forever and ever. Amen.

What does the Synod mean for Catholics in England and Wales?

Fr Chris Thomas, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and Father Jan Nowotnik, Director of Mission, discuss the process and explain this invitation to communion, participation and mission.