PRELIMINARY STATEMENT TO THE DIOCESE - SYNOD 2021/2023
On 7 March 2020, Pope Francis announced a synod “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission”. In May 2021, the Synodal process was changed into a three-year journey for every diocese worldwide, culminating in Rome in 2023. Pope Francis wants everyone to participate. He wants to hear the voice of all the baptised, especially those whose voices are seldom heard.
Our diocese hasn’t had a Synod before, so this is new territory for us. With the blessing of Cardinal John Dew, the Archdiocese of Wellington have offered to share their experience with us to help us in our process. Right now, we are in the process of creating a team to plan and lead our diocesan synod. They will be responsible for resourcing parish communities, for promoting the synod and for encouraging participation. Finally, they will bring our submissions together into a single document. Everyone is invited to make a submission.
The synodal process is both a global and local experience. Pope Francis is addressing the whole world and we want to do our very best to respond and involve as many people as possible. Given the expansiveness and importance of this project, I think we need to give of our best, including making use of our best people. In my experience, good consultation demands everyone’s input, right from the outset. So, please give some prayerful thought about how we can all best approach this project to give us the best results. In this case the widest and most comprehensive feedback to share with our bishops and lay people who will meet with Pope Francis in 2023.
Ehara taku toa, i te toa takitahi,ēngari e toa takitini.
My success is not mine alone, it is ours
The greatest success we will have is from working together.
Where to from here?
Please look at the official website https://www.synod.va/en.html Don’t be put off by the church language; the team will address this issue.
October 2021 - The Synod process will begin with an Opening Mass on Sunday 17 October at 6.00pm Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Palmerston North. Everyone is welcome to attend. On that day each parish will mark the beginning of the Synod celebrate at Sunday Eucharist.
November 2021 - The consultation process will begin in each parish. More information will follow about this from the organising team.
January 2011 - We will hold a pre-synodal meeting with representatives from across the diocese. The details will follow later this year.
Lastly, and most importantly, this work of creating a synodal church will only bear fruit if we make it a prayerful experience and open ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. One of the documents we have received so far encourages the use of an adaptation of a prayer (Adsumus Sancte Spiritus) that was used at each of the Vatican II sessions and various Synods since then.
Fr Craig Butler
SYNOD 2021 - 2023 PRAYER
We stand before You, Holy Spirit,
as we gather together in Your name.
With You alone to guide us,
make Yourself at home in our hearts;
Teach us the way we must go
and how we are to pursue it.
We are weak and sinful;
do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path
nor partiality influence our actions.
Let us find in You our unity
so that we may journey together to eternal life
and not stray from the way of truth
and what is right.
All this we ask of You,
who are at work in every place and time,
in the communion of the Father and the Son, forever and ever. Amen
From Cardinal Dew: In his words to the Diocese of Rome on 18th September, Pope Francis said, “I came here to encourage you to take this synodal process seriously and to tell you that the Holy Spirit needs you. It is true: the Holy Spirit needs us. Listen to him by listening to each other. Leave no one behind or excluded. It will be good for the Diocese of Rome and for the whole Church, which is not strengthened simply by reforming structures (that is the great illusion!) or by giving instructions, offering retreats and conferences, by issuing guidelines and programmes. All those things are good, but as part of something else, namely our rediscovery that we are a people meant to walk together, with one another and with all humanity. A people that, here in Rome, embraces a wide variety of communities and situations: an extraordinary treasure, in all its complexity! However, we need to pass beyond the 3 or 4 percent that are closest to us, to broaden our range and to listen to others; at times they may insult or dismiss you, but we need to hear what they are thinking, without trying to impose our own concerns: let the Spirit speak to us.”
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Photo: Hāto Hōhepa (St Joseph's Catholic Church)
With the Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis recalls the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father has proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from today, 8 December 2020, to 8 December 2021.By Vatican News
In a new Apostolic Letter entitled Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.
The Letter marks the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To celebrate the anniversary, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special “Year of St Joseph,” beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2020 and extending to the same feast in 2021... read more
by Vatican News
Prayer to St Joseph
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.