The Catholic Church is preparing for a great Synod, a “walking on the way together”, in 2023. The unifying them is: How can the Church better fulfil her mission of offering hope to ALL people? For this, Pope Francis wants to hear from all Catholics, and so a Synodal Pathway Consultation is underway.

The first stage is for parishes, communities and individuals to send their responses to our Diocese by 8 March. The Diocese which will then collate them and send them to the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, who will in turn collate these and send them to the Synodal Office at the Vatican. We are not being invited simply to put forward opinions or even to debate, although these are not precluded, but rather to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to us as individuals and through our brothers and sisters.

Here at Blackfriars we are offering two ways to take part:

  1. Join the Synodal discussion group (first meeting: Tuesday 15th February, 7.30-9 pm), led by Claire Kokelaar and accompanied by Fr Bob Eccles OP. To find out more please email Claire at rclairekokelaarATgmail.com

2. Fill in the individual survey online (which you can do as well as taking part in the discussion group if you wish). Click here: https://www.rcdea.org.uk/synodal-pathway/ then click the right-hand arrow marked “Tell us >”

There is a prayer at the beginning to help you. Though you don’t have to answer every question if you don’t want to, once you’ve started you have to finish – you can’t save and come back – so best to put half an hour aside.

Asking the views of one billion Catholics is nevertheless quite an undertaking, so ten questions have been given us to help sort all the answers (see below). You can fit the points you want to make under these. For example, if you feel some improvements and development to the overall structure of the Church and its ministries is needed, you might put them under 5 (mission) or 6 (engagement with the world). Questions about family life and relationships might fit well under 10.

And here are the guide questions to think about:

1 How welcoming is our parish?

2 How good are we at listening?

3 How good are we at communicating?

4 How well does the Church’s liturgy inspire a deeper encounter with the Risen Lord?

5 How well do I understand and participate in the mission of the Church?

6 How well do we engage with the wider world?

7 How good is our relationship with other Christian traditions?

8 How well do we work as a team in our parish?

9 How open are we to the will of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit?

10 How well do we hand on the faith?


Make sure you send your response by 8 March 2022!

There are also good resources available at the Centre for Ecclesial Ethics at the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology in Cambridge: Centre For Ecclesial Ethics – Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology (cam.ac.uk)


May the Holy Spirit inspire us.

Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.

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