For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission

In October 2023 the Bishops of the Church will come together in Synod. The path toward this Synod, ‘For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission’, began in October this year, in a worldwide invitation to all the faithful. Click below to read the invitation from Pope Francis

Pope Francis has invited the entire Church to ‘reflect on a theme which is decisive for its life and mission’, the path of synodality. 

“The purpose of this Synod… is intended to inspire people to dream about the Church we are called to be…”

Pope Francis

What is a “Synod”?

‘Synod’ is a word used over the centuries, whose meaning draws on the deepest themes of our faith. It comes from two Greek words: with and path, indicating the path along which the People of God walk together.’

Synodality’ is the process of ‘journeying together’, a way of being the Church as envisaged by the Second Vatican Council,  journeying forwards in mission, together in communion where everybody has a part to play. Pope Francis affirmed, “A synodal Church is a Church which listens… The faithful People, the College of Bishops, the Bishop of Rome: all listening to each other; and all listening to the Holy Spirit.”

An infographic of the whole process is available below.

Below are documents prepared by the Vatican for the implementation of the process. More information about how events will occur locally will be advertised widely through the newsletter and our website.

This Vademecum is designed as a handbook that accompanies the Preparatory Document at the service of the synodal journey.

This should be read alongside the Preparatory Document.

In particular, the Vademecum offers practical support to the Diocesan Contact Person(s) (or team), designated by the diocesan Bishop, to prepare and gather the People of God so that they can give voice to their experience in their local Church. This worldwide invitation to all the faithful is the first phase of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, whose theme is “For a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.”

Adsumus, Sancte Spiritus – Prayer of invocation to the Holy Spirit for an ecclesial assembly of governance or discernment (thus synodal)

Every session of the Second Vatican Council began with the prayer Adsumus Sancte Spiritus, the first word of the Latin original meaning, “We stand before You, Holy Spirit,”. This has been historically used at Councils, Synods and other Church gatherings for hundreds of years, being attributed to Saint Isidore of Seville (c. 560 – 4 April 636). As we are called to embrace this synodal path of the Synod 2021-2023, this prayer invites the Holy
Spirit to operate within us so that we may be a community and a people of grace.

For the Synod 2021-2023, we propose to use this simplified version, so that any group or liturgical assembly can pray more easily.

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.

Title revised from Latin, to have a proper incipit, different from the Adsumus Dominus Sancte Spiritus. The Caeremoniale Episcoporum 1984ss., n. 1173, only proposes the use of the Adsumus but does not give the text. The German version Das Zeremoniale für die Bischöfe, n. 1188, gives a German translation based on the Latin text of the Acta Synodalia of the Council, vol. I/1, p. 159.

Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales

Read more about how the Catholic Church in England and Wales are undertaking the Synod process here. It will culminate in the final Synod Gathering of Bishops in Rome in October 2023.

Westminster Diocese Synod news

Click here to access the Diocesan news. Links to Cardinal Vincent Nichols talking about the Synodal Church, access to Synod Facilitation resources and much more are available.

St Hugh of Lincoln Parish Synod activities

A series of listening events is scheduled for December as we respond to this invitation to journey together. These will consist of three gatherings which will form small listening groups, meeting in the St. Hilda Room. You are invited to attend any or all of the three. The listening will begin with questions:

  • What has been your experience of “journeying together” during these past eighteen months of the pandemic? 
  • How has this brought joy? 
  • When has it brought pain or sadness? 
  • What do you value about how the Church community journeys together and shows love to the world? 
  • In what ways does the Church community fail to journey together and show love?

Our next Parish Synodal Listening Events will be held in the Saint Hilda Room after 9.30am Mass today and on Tuesday 14th December, 7.30 – 9pm. 

Where is this Synod on Synodality leading?  What might be accomplished?  You may wish to read Pope Francis’ homily for the Opening of the Synodal Pathway in Rome on October 10th;