Director of Pastoral Life and Mission for the Archdiocese, Sarah Moffatt, said information already gathered through the Plenary Council and the Diocesan Assembly would be incorporated into the global consultations launched by Pope Francis last month.
The theme for the Synod, to be held in October 2023, is ‘For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission’.
“It is precisely this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium,” Pope Francis said. “This journey, which follows in the wake of the Church’s ‘renewal’ proposed by the Second Vatican Council, is both a gift and a task.”
Ten areas of synodality are being explored with questions in each area across the themes of communion, participation and mission. Catholics are invited to pray with, reflect upon and respond and help develop a process of communal spiritual discernment.
Mrs Moffatt said the Adelaide ‘journey’ would build on previous consultation and involve a series of forums in November and December with specific groups that had not yet had a chance to express their hopes for the Church. These include LGBTQIA+, young people, those living with a disability, services to the homeless and the disadvantaged, children, school parents/carers, migrant communities, prison and hospital chaplains and volunteers, the home-bound, aged care communities, regional and rural parishes.
The process will also feed into the work of the new Diocesan Pastoral Council, which is currently being finalised. A pre-Synod, diocesan gathering will be held in February and a report would be prepared for the National Centre for Pastoral Research (NCPR) which is coordinating Australia’s contribution to the Synod.
Trudy Dantis, director of the NCPR, said the Fifth Plenary Council would assist with the Synod of Bishops path outlined by Pope Francis.
“One thing we learned during the dialogue and discernment phases of the Plenary Council was the power of a guided process of prayer, reflection, listening and speaking that invites God into the conversation,” she said.
“We will draw upon those lessons and encourage people to approach this Synod of Bishops journey with a spirit of openness to the Holy Spirit and the power of prayer.”
A new online portal has been set up to receive submissions across the various questions posed by the Synod’s preparatory document. Those submissions will initially be considered at the diocesan level, and then used to develop a national report for the Synod of Bishops secretariat for the drafting of key documents.
Dr Dantis said all Catholics in Australia are invited to participate in the Synod of Bishops process. The process of prayer and reflection is designed for group discernment, but an individual guide has also been created for those unable to join a communal process.
Find out more and access the resources at www.catholic.org.au/synodalchurchJump to next article