The National Synthesis – reflects on Synod reports received by the national synthesis team, discerning the main themes that have emerged from the listening conversations, and collating them together to give a picture of the synodal process in England and Wales.
The Catholic Church in England and Wales has been following the Synodal Process called by Pope Francis, reflecting on the theme “For a Synodal Church: communion, participation, mission” and has now reached an important moment. Since October 2021, the dioceses, national organisations and religious communities have been engaged in listening conversations on the central themes, exploring the way the Church embraces more fully her missionary mandate in the world of today.
The diocesan and national organisational reports were submitted to the Bishops’ Conference just before Holy Week this year, and since then, the National Synthesis Team has been working on producing the “National Synthesis” – reflecting on the reports received, discerning the main themes that have emerged from the listening conversations, and collating them together to give a picture of the synodal process in England and Wales. The Bishops have been kept abreast of this work with a report given to their Spring Plenary Assembly in Cardiff and on 1st June, a National Synod Day was held in Southwark Cathedral.
This moment, falling between Ascension and Pentecost, was an important gathering of Bishops with representatives from the dioceses and national organisations. Sr Bernadette Reis fsp, who facilitated the day, recalled the Upper Room where the apostles gathered with Mary after the ascension and awaited the Holy Spirit, gathered in prayer (Acts 1:12-14). This day reflected on the first draft of the synthesis and comments, corrections and refinements on it were collected and used to produce the final synthesis which is presented here .
This week, the Bishops of England and Wales will gather to discern their response to this National Synthesis. Their work, together with the synthesis document will be sent to the Synod Office in Rome as the formal submission to the Synod from England and Wales. Along with reports from all the other conferences in the world, the Synod office will be reviewed to create the first Instrumentum Laboris, which the Synod Office is calling the “Document for the Continental Stage.”
We thank all who have participated so far in the Synodal Process and ask for continued prayers as we journey together towards being a Synodal Church in today’s world, expressing her nature as the People of God journeying together and gathering in assembly, summoned by the Lord Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel that brings life and human flourishing to all who hear and respond to it.