For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission

On October 9-10th in Rome Pope Francis launched the theme of the 2023 Synod of Bishops – For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission.  The diocesan phase of the Synod was introduced in every parish on October 17th.   The diocesan phase will involve the largest consultation with the lay faithful ever to take place and will examine what life is like in the Church at this moment in time asking questions about; How do we make decisions?  How do we create community?  How welcoming are we?  Do we provide opportunities for people to participate in the mission of the Church to bring the love of Christ into every corner of the world?


The preparatory document for the Synod included over thirty questions based around ten thematic nuclei.  Great flexibility, however, was given to each diocese to adapt the questions to their own situation.

After discussion with the Diocesan Synodal Core Group, the Priests’ Council and with a focus group of lay faithful, the Diocesan Pastoral Team has decided to circulate the following four questions for consultation in the Archdiocese of Armagh:

  1. What memory or experience of the Catholic Church do you value or cherish most in your life?
  2. How can our Church be a welcoming and inclusive community?
  3. How can we be listened to more effectively and encouraged to participate in decision-making processes in the Church?
  4. What inspires you in the life of your parish community to bring the love of Christ into the world?  What discourages you?

The next step for all priests, communities, and groups over the coming three months, is to bring these questions to the community by means of public in-person or online meetings, hard copy questionnaires, websites, social media, etc., and invite responses.  Consultation meetings may also be held at Pastoral Area level, within the various Religious Orders, and amongst groups across the Archdiocese.  A sheet with basic instructions for holding a parish or group consultation to reflect on the questions can be found by Clicking here.

An additional guide that may assist with the Synodal process and which gives some key information about Synodality has been produced by Leadership Roundtable.  

This document can be accessed by Clicking Here. 

The responses should be anonymous and placed in an envelope immediately after the meeting. Please return them to me, c/o The Diocesan Office, Ara Coeli, Armagh, by Monday, January 31st.  The envelope should be marked Universal Synod.  Submissions can be made by individuals, families and groups online.  

Click Here to access online submissions. 

A meeting of representatives from every parish, Religious Order and other groups will be held sometime during the months of February or March to discuss the questions and responses and agree a report from the diocese that will be passed on to Rome, through the Episcopal Conference, before the summer.

We pray that God will send his Holy Spirit to be with all of us as we begin our ‘Synodal Pathway’ that will encompass the Universal, Diocesan and National Synods.  May the years ahead be a time of discernment, renewal and hope for us all.