In his homily Bishop Alan said that Pope Francis had “acknowledged the need for change in the way in which the Church lives and carries out its mission”. The Pope had asked Catholics to embrace what he called the Synodal Pathway so that vision might become reality.
The Bishop explained the three pillars upholding the pathway, staring with communion. “The Church is not just me, or my particular parish,” he said, “but the whole people of God, a community on a journey.” The Synodal Way, he said, “recognises that we Christians, in our following of Jesus Christ, never do so alone.”
The second principle was participation. “In many ways, the Synodal Process is already happening in our Diocese,” said Bishop Alan. “The Synodal Pathway is putting into action St Paul’s teaching that we are members of one Body, with different gifts to offer in the service of our Lord and our society.”
The final principle was mission, “to live out the Gospel and to proclaim it to others by our words and our lives; to reach out to those who have never heard the Gospel, to those who have been hurt or disappointed and have left the Church”.
After the Mass round 30 parish representatives from around the diocese met with Bishop Alan in the Narthex of the Cathedral for a time of questions and answers.
Bishop Alan explained that over the next week the representatives would be receiving a set of ten ‘user friendly’ questions. He encouraged the representatives to involve as many people as possible in responding to the questions over the coming months. There will also be an online option for responding.
The next Synod of bishops will take place in Rome in 2023. In preparation for this, Pope Francis has asked the whole Church – lay people and religious, clergy and bishops – to participate in the preparations by feeding back their ideas through the local dioceses.
To see a Flickr gallery of the event, please click on this link or the picture below.
Pictured above is Bishop Alan with the parish representatives.