The Diocesan Synodal Pathway for the Dublin Archdiocese was launched in the Pro Cathedral on 17 October 2021 by Archbishop Dermot Farrell. A representative from all the parishes in the Archdiocese had been invited to attend. Under the Pathway process, a global initiative of Pope Francis, two Synodal Gatherings were to be held in each parish of the Diocese in March 2022. These Gatherings were an opportunity for people to share and listen to each other’s experience of Church, in an organised, gentle and prayerful environment. The basis of the lived synodality which the Holy Father envisages, is that of the Church as the pilgrim People of God journeying together.
Arrangements were made to hold the Gatherings for Corpus Christi Parish on 8th and 15th March in Na Fianna Club, Mobhi Road. These were announced at weekend Masses on 26/27 February and invitations were handed out at the Church exits. Both Gatherings were quite well attended. At the outset, the background and context of the Synod were explained, two pre set questions were presented each evening and people sat in small groups to share on each question and listen to each other.
Each small group had a leader who helped everyone to have the opportunity to share and collect the feedback from the group. The participants engaged fully with the process and appeared to enjoy the discussions.
The feedback will now be sorted into similar themes. These will form the basis for a Report to the Diocesan Synodal Committee which will be incorporated into the Dublin Diocese overall report for the Synod and will eventually be passed onto Church leaders in time for the 2023 Synod in Rome. The feedback will also be used by the Parish Team and Parish Pastoral Council to help in pastoral planning. Along with the other groups in our Parish Groupings, we are hoping to prepare a summary of the main themes to emerge from the Gatherings.
A copy of the feedback is available here…….
Over two evenings in March 2022, approximately 50 people of the Parish, gathered in Na Fianna Club to participate in the Synodal Pathway. Participants came together in a prayerful environment and were asked to consider and reflect on four questions namely: ‘When you think about your experience of Church what brings Joy, what brings Sorrow, what brings Hope, what brings Fear”.
The following is a summary of the information gathered as a result of our Synodal Pathway Gatherings.
In relation to the question on what brings Joy, the views of the parishioners present included the joy of community and coming together to celebrate sacraments and liturgy. Youth and music in the church was also a source of joy, as well as prayer and having a Parish Priest to guide us and the joy of knowing God loves us.
Hope The parishioners present expressed the hopes that the Church would be open to change and would adjust to the modern world, that there could be women and married priests in the future and that the laity would have a higher level of participation within the Church. Alongside this there was also hope that the traditions of the Church would be kept alive. There was Hope in the good leadership of Pope Francis and in the synodal process itself.
Fears The people present expressed their fears that the Church would not adapt to change or that any momentum gained by the Synodal Pathway would be lost. There was fear that the Church was in decline and lacked relevance for younger people coupled with the fear of the loss of vocations.
In relation to the experience of Church and what brings Sorrow, the parishioners present indicated that the exclusion of women from the priesthood and other senior roles within the Church brought sorrow, also the exclusion of married men from the priesthood and the exclusion felt by gay and divorced people. Sadness was expressed about the clerical abuse scandals, the declining numbers of Priests and that the Church does not seem relevant to young people. The current closure of the Parish Hall was also mentioned.
The main themes emerging from the Gatherings in our Parish were;
- An openness and awareness to the changes necessary so that the Church will be relevant to all and continue to grow.
- The importance of belonging to a community, for example coming together to celebrate Liturgy, Sacraments etc.,
- The importance of an inclusive Church. A Church that includes all people (youth, LGBTQI, Divorced People, Women in Priesthood, Married Priests/Deacons)
- Hope that the good leadership demonstrated by Pope Francis within the Church will continue
Our parish information was returned to the Diocese and The Synthesis Report which collates all the feedback from the synodal process across the Dublin Diocese has now been collated and can be found here
We wish to thank all those who attended the Gatherings and all who helped out.