The Synodal Pathway, which began in the Diocese of East Anglia on Sunday October 17, has taken another step along the way with the launch of the online survey by Bishop Alan.
We are being asked specifically to explore ten main themes, which cover a lot of issues, but there is one unifying theme: how can the Church better fulfil her mission of offering hope to ALL people? Each person’s contribution will be valued, but you do not need to answer every question posed, they are there to guide the discussions.
Pope Francis is using this worldwide listening exercise to prepare for a Synod of Bishops in Rome in 2023, so the responses from our Diocese will go forward to the worldwide Synod, but will also be used in our own Diocese as part of a pastoral plan of renewal.
Parishes are invited to gather in small group meetings to discuss these questions with each other and then to respond individually via the online survey, which can be found on the rcdea.org.uk website and linked on parish websites.
It is not so much a matter of sharing opinions; it is much deeper. We are being invited into a process of personal renewal and of listening to God with humility, as disciples of Jesus on a pilgrim journey through life, both as individuals, but also as part of God’s family.
So we are not only listening to the Holy Spirit speaking to us in our hearts, but also speaking to us through our brothers and sisters. Respectful, attentive listening to their insights will strengthen our bonds of charity. As we journey together, we are walking on the path with Christ, who reveals to us the truth of our lives and who gives us life in Him. Every Christian shares this prophetic office with Christ and each of us shares His mission, the mission of the Church.
At the heart of the listening process are three words which Pope Francis has chosen as the theme of the Synod:
Communion, Participation, Mission
As sons and daughters of the one Father, we are in communion with each other. We are members of the Body of Christ, Jesus, and we are temples of the Holy Spirit.
Participation means our participation as missionary members of the Church. Each member of God’s family needs to discern how they can contribute to building up the Church.
Mission is the purpose of the Church. Jesus died to take away our sins and bring us to eternal life. New evangelisation involves re-proposing the Gospel to a society that has been profoundly influenced by Christianity, but whose members have fallen into indifference and scepticism.
The Synodal Team hope that our Diocesan family will take this opportunity to be part of the renewal that began with Vatican II, and which continues to shape the Church in the 21st century.
Responses from participants should be submitted by Tuesday March 8, 2022 to be included in the responses which go forward to the Bishops’ Synod in 2023.
You can contact the Synodal Pathway Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The ten questions are to be considered by parishes as the Diocese embarks on the Synodal Pathway are:
1 How welcoming is our parish?
2 How good are we at listening?
3 How good are we at communicating?
4 How well does the Church’s liturgy inspire a deeper encounter with the Risen Lord?
5 How well do I understand and participate in the mission of the Church?
6 How well do we engage with the wider world?
7 How good is our relationship with other Christian traditions?
8 How well do we work as a team in our parish?
9 How open are we to the will of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
10 How well do we hand on the faith?
Downloads of the questions in different languages are listed below