***Bishop Marcus was one of two Bishops of England & Wales who attended the October 2023 Synod of Bishops in Rome and is now preparing a Pastoral message for the Diocese. Please follow this link to where the Synod General Assembly’s ‘Letter to the People of God’ is published in full on our diocesan website. For information about the ‘Synod on Synodality’ across the Universal Church, please visit the Holy See’s dedicated website, Synod 2021-2024***
“The synod … should be … a journey in accordance with the Spirit, not a parliament for demanding rights and claiming needs in accordance with the agenda of the world, nor an occasion for following wherever the wind is blowing, but the opportunity to be docile to the breath of the Holy Spirit.” (Pope Francis)
Our Journey Together from Parish to Mission
Phase 2 of Our Journey from Parish to Mission is underway!
So what now?
The work of synthesising the responses from Phase 1 into the final report is now complete. The report has been formally presented to Bishop Marcus at a Mass in the Cathedral by two members of The Twelve, Diocese of Leeds Youth Leadership Team, on Saturday 2nd April. The report has been submitted to the Bishops’ Conference and is published on the diocesan website. A national synthesis is now underway. Bishops from all over the world will meet in Rome in October 2023.
A second listening meeting will take place in each parish, with online and written submissions welcome too. We will ask the Holy Spirit to guide us as we listen and speak about these 3 questions in the light of Evangelii Gaudium 28.
The parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for hearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration. In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelizers.
(Evangelii Gaudium 28)
1. What, within our current practice as a parish and diocese, helps to fulfil this vision?
2. What would our parish and diocese look like if this vision was being fully lived?
3. What practical steps can we take to move towards that fully lived reality?
What Three Words?
Communion, Participation, Mission
The first word, ‘communion’ helps us to understand who we are as members of the Church. Through our Baptism we have entered into an eternal relationship of love with God our Father. We are his sons and daughters, we are members of the Body of Christ, his Son, and we are Temples of his Holy Spirit. We are in God and God is in us.
As sons and daughters of the one Father, we are also in communion with one another. We are all part of one family, the Church. And our family is a sign which brings unity to the whole of humanity.
The second word ‘participation’ reminds us that we are not just members of the Church: we are called to be agents of change within the Church. When Bishop Marcus goes on visitation to parishes he often reminds parishioners that they are not there to help the priest; rather he is there to help them fulfil their roles as disciples of Jesus. Bishop Marcus wishes to foster a sense of co-responsibility (a word used by successive Popes) so that each member of the faithful may discern how they can best contribute to the building up of God’s kingdom using the charisms granted to them by the Holy Spirit.
The third word ‘mission’ describes what the Church is for. She exists to spread to others the good news that Jesus Christ died to take away our sins and rose again so that all people might have eternal life. The Church is always outward-facing. We might say that in our own time we are rediscovering this dimension of the life of the Church. The listening exercise in our own Diocese will be an expression of what is known as ‘the new evangelisation’. This involves re-proposing the gospel to a society which has been profoundly influenced by Christianity but whose members have fallen into religious indifference and scepticism and experience deep sadness as a result.