Friday, February 23, 2024

Irish bishops plan first national synodal assembly

FAQs | Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference

The Irish bishops will hold the first national synodal assembly in autumn next year as part of the Irish Synodal Pathway.

Julieann Moran, general secretary of the Irish Synodal Pathway, said this will be followed by a series of assemblies addressing different themes.

In an update on the progress of the Synodal Pathway in Ireland, she said that a series of regional and online gatherings with key representatives from dioceses and religious congregations were held at the end of January in Cork, Mayo and Tyrone. 

A fifth meeting was held online for members of movements and associations.

These regional meetings saw the launch of a synodal leadership training programme.

The programme is based on research carried out in March last year by the Synodal Pathway’s steering committee in which people expressed a desire for training and formation to provide the skills and knowledge necessary to advance as a synodal Church.  

Describing the training programme as “an investment in leadership development”, it aims to equip participants to lead synodal processes locally and facilitate dialogues in the synodal methodology of “Conversations in the Spirit”. 

“This programme also represents an investment in the long-term so as to nurture a culture of synodality that extends beyond the duration of any specific initiative, into the day-to-day life and mission of the Church in Ireland,” Ms Moran said.

She said that the success of the pathway rests on consistent and continued engagement in the parishes across the 26 dioceses of Ireland, as well as the engagement of religious communities, lay movements and associations, and other Church bodies.

The teams who undertake the training “have an essential role to play on the journey ahead”, she said.

Becoming synodal will not happen overnight, she said. “There is a growing realisation that the synodal pathway is a long-haul journey. We will be walking together for a very long time, listening to each other and discerning God’s will for his people in Ireland today.”

But she underlined that synodal processes and conversations can begin to be implemented now in parish pastoral councils, in diocesan councils, in other groups and institutions.

Meanwhile, following the completion of the initial two-year term of the steering committee, a new national team will be established for the remainder of the synodal pathway.