Pope Francis has invited the whole Church (that means YOU) to experience coming together as a decisive and dynamic theme for the life and mission of the Church. As we all engage in the synodal experience we are being asked to invoke the Holy Spirit to guide our Church into a deeper communion, participation and commitment to its evangelising mission.
The guidance that we seek is to be found in a prayerful listening to the People of God. Bishop Noel invites each of us in Down and Connor to undertake the season of Lent 2022 as a time of prayer, listening and discernment.
A Listening Lent
Beginning on Ash Wednesday, our diocese will present a series of opportunities to consult as many of our people as possible. The results will be faithfully collated by our Living Church office which will inform an authentic response to the Irish Episcopal Conference. In this way the world-wide family that is our Catholic church will inform Pope Francis. This is like Vatican 3 and we need a powerful and truly representative voice from ALL our people.
On Ash Wednesday pages will be handed out in the church for you to have your say. There will also be a link to the Diocesan Synodal website here on Ash Wednesday, if you would prefer to answer the questions online
The love of God is for everyone. As a Diocese we aspire to ‘open wide the doors of the Church to all without exception’. Who finds welcome and support for their Christian journey and who might feel left out?
Every baptised person is called to participate in the mission of the Church. How is dialogue and participation in the life of the Church enabled, and how is it hindered?
We are called to mission; to put our faith into action. What enables or hinders us in speaking up for the Gospel and acting courageously in society?
A large, majestic tree, full of wisdom and light, reaches for the sky. A sign of deep vitality and hope which expresses the cross of Christ. It carries the Eucharist, which shines like the sun. The horizontal branches, opened like hands or wings, suggest, at the same time, the Holy Spirit.
The People of God are not static: they are on the move, in direct reference to the etymology of the word synod, which means “walking together”. The people are united by the same common dynamic that this Tree of Life breathes into them, from which they begin their walk. These 15 silhouettes sum up our entire humanity in its diversity of life situations of generations and origins. This aspect is reinforced by the multiplicity of bright colours which are themselves signs of joy. There is no hierarchy between these people who are all on the same footing: young, old, men, women, teenagers, children, lay people, religious, parents, couples, singles, healthy, disabled; the bishop and the nun are not in front of them, but among them. Quite naturally, children and then adolescents open their walk, in reference to these words of Jesus in the Gospel: “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children”. (Mt 11:25)
The horizontal baseline: “For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission” runs from left to right in the direction of this march, underlining and strengthening it, to end with the title “Synod 2021- 2023,” the high point that synthesizes the whole.
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