October Synod: ‘Rooted in our tradition, we walk together’

CBCEW » » October Synod: ‘Rooted in our...

Last week, Fr Jan Nowotnik was named as one of the voting members of the upcoming General Assembly of the Synod, set to take place in October.

Vatican News spoke to Fr Nowotnik – who is Director of Mission for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales – about his reaction to being selected, and the importance of the October Assembly.


“Seeing my name on the list,” says Fr Nowotnik, “felt quite an honour and a privilege.”

At the same time, however, he stresses that “this is an important moment for the Church ecclesiologically”, and that this is something he was “taking very seriously”.

He recognises the gravity of the moment, he says, and realises that “not only do I need to be praying quite hard at the moment, but also asking the prayers of those I know who will be supporting the process.”

Significance of the event

What’s the point of the upcoming assembly? For Fr Nowotnik, it has to do with Pope Francis’ desire for a Church that is “constitutively synodal”. The Synod, that is, should not be thought of as a one-off event, but rather as an ongoing way of coming together as a Church.

“When we listen to each other,” the priest says, “and particularly when we listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, speaking to the Church through our prayer, through the Scriptures, through the liturgy, through our conversations with each other, we can hear afresh what is important for the Church of today.”

The process so far, Fr Nowotnik adds, has brought many such contemporary themes in the Church to light.  Some of these are positive – “the things that we hold in common, our love of Christ, our love of the Church, our desire to serve the Church and each other” – while others are less inspiring: “there aren’t as many young people in church, the role of women, certainly the consequences of the sexual abuse within the Church”.

Reluctance about synodality

Acknowledging that “some people are fearful of synodality, and some people have found it harder to engage with the process than others”, Fr Nowotnik expresses his hope that “the October Synod will be a moment where people will see an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the genuine desire of those who are in Synod … to really pray, to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in this important moment.”

Ultimately, he says, synodality is a matter of “helping us to understand what the Lord is asking of us to do now, rooted in our tradition, rooted in our teaching, and that desire to walk with each other and accompany each other on the journey which we share as our common baptismal heritage.”

Listen to the full interview here.

Source: vaticannews.va