The Diocesan response to The Synod has been completed and sent to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
The Synodal Pathway Team met the recent submission deadline after working through hundreds of responses from parishes, schools, agencies and individuals.
During the month of March various ‘reading groups’ gathered at St Chad’s Cathedral to read through all the responses. Each one was read several times to ensure key themes, ideas, suggestions, proposals and thoughts were collated as part of this Diocesan Discernment process.
Members of the Synodal Pathway Team then met with Archbishop Bernard Longley to assist him in his role as principal discerner for the Archdiocese of Birmingham.
The synthesis has highlighted a number of themes including:
• The role of women within the Catholic Church
• Inclusion, the Church must be there for all
• The importance of schools, families and young people
• Formation throughout one’s lifetime
• The need for greater co-responsibility and an involved laity
The synthesis also includes many direct quotes taken from the hundreds of submissions received.
The overall theme for the Synod, opened by Pope Francis last year, is ‘For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission’.
And every aspect of the Diocesan ‘Walking Together’ journey has proved to be synodal in its very nature as people have walked, talked and listened together.
Now the Diocesan synthesis is with the Bishops’ Conference it will in turn shape the national response and discernment.
The synthesis will also feed directly into our Diocesan Vision, Unfolding God’s Plan, and our own priorities for the coming years. (Evangelisation, Formation, Liturgy and Worship, Social Outreach – with co-responsibility, young people and families a focus in each of these areas).
Canon Paul Fitzpatrick, Chair of the Diocesan Synodal Pathway Committee, said: “I am delighted with the number of responses we received, which exceeded all expectations.
“It is very encouraging that so many people wanted to have their say, to be involved, to contribute to our Walking Together journey, but most importantly to listen.
“This listening and discernment will feed directly into our Diocesan Vision and priorities – which were clearly coming through in the hundreds of responses we received.”
Archbishop Bernard Longley said: “I want to thank all who took the time to contribute to our Diocesan Walking Together journey.
“Every single response received has been so important, reflecting on our current experience of the Church and what we hope it will be in the future.
“This process has given due respect to the voices of individuals and distinctive groups and we hear their own words in this synthesis. As we look beyond our immediate contribution to the Synodal Pathway at national level we need to capture these voices and insights within our own diocesan vision and planning.
“I have been heartened to see people taking such an active role and I look forward to that enthusiasm continuing as we implement our own Diocesan Vision.”
To date the Synodal Pathway Team have received submissions from:
• 189/219 Parish responses
• 104 Individual school responses – (pupils, family life, teachers)
• 29 Group responses
• 271 Individual responses.