Last week Father Ashley wrote about the opening Mass of the Synod celebrated by Pope Francis, and explained what ‘Synod’ means: walking on the same road – walking together. The Synod of Bishops will be held in 2023 in Rome and time is short. Today I want to invite you to participate in thinking and in voicing your views, concerns, expectations and your vision of where the Church ought to be. In this initial phase you have until 7 January 2022 to think about it. The Church is not the building in which we gather; rather, the living Church is actually all of us who belong to Christ – that is the real Church. This Synod calls for a worldwide process of listening and discernment in parishes. It is worldwide because it is an initiative from Pope Francis aimed at listening to the whole world. What might work for us locally might not be suitable for other parts of the world, so we need to have a worldwide view of what the Church should be now and in the future.

Jesus defined the term ‘neighbour’ very well in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 29-37) and also in telling us ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ This is our opportunity to participate in what the Church means to us, as members of the Church and as a community, the Body of Christ. It is a renewal process and it is important for us to keep in mind how we can maintain solidarity with the rest of the world. The preparatory documents for this process published by the diocese say in clarification, ‘The consultation of the people of God does not imply the assumption within the Church of the dynamics of democracy based on the principle of majority, it is a shared passion for a common mission.’ When we say ‘common mission and shared passion’ we need to think of the rest of the world and not just the local parish. This synod is about rejuvenating the whole world with the message of Christ and walking together in his footsteps. That does not preclude us from thinking about our particular parish; however, it is greatly beneficial to journey together with others – how we are connected with other dioceses, the rest of the world and Rome. This is an invitation to have your voice heard. We have been blessed with a diverse community, and regularly until the pandemic we celebrated this unity in diversity in International Days in our parish.

This is a call to each and every one of you to participate and help to define through prayer the purpose of the Church, which can be done through prayer. Archbishop John has written this in his letter about synod: ‘Please do all you can to support this process as we ‘journey together’, respectfully hearing and exploring how the perennial teaching of the Church can be applied and lived today’. Pope Francis also reminds us: ‘’What is under discussion at synodal gatherings are not the traditional truths of Christian doctrine. The Synod is concerned mainly with how teaching can be lived and applied in the changing contexts of our time.’ (Let us Dream: the Path to a Better Future, Simon and Schuster, London: Simon and Schuster 2020, pp. 84-85)

I offer this short passage from the Synod Vademecum by way of a prayer and conclusion:

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles and Mother of the Church, intercede for us as we journey together on the path that God sets before us. As in the Upper Room at Pentecost, may her maternal care and intercession accompany us as we build up our communion with one another and carry out our mission in the world. With her, we say together as the People of God: ‘Let it be with me according to your word’ (Lk 1:38). Amen.

Please keep the Synodal process in your prayers.

Deacon Sandy Misquitta


The launch of St Edmund’s synod and details of how you can participate will take place at Masses on 6/7 November.   If you would like to know more or start preparing for the St Edmunds’ synod we would suggest having a look at the following documents;

  1. Questions for Use in Parish Listening, Sharing and Reflection :   https://www.rcsouthwark.co.uk/media/mslfprt0/3synod_questions.pdf
  2.  Preparatory Document: https://www.synod.va/en/documents/versione-desktop-del-documento-preparatorio.html – particularly the section “Ten Thematic Nuclei to be Explored”

EXPERTISE NEEDED

If you have any experience in the following areas please contact the parish office:

  • Electronic survey platforms
  • Large scale consultations
  • Data analytics
  • Facilitating discussions/break out groups