During the season of Lent 2022, the Diocese of Kerry is responding to Pope Francis’s invitation to consult members of the Church throughout the world on the issue of Synodality – in other words, he wants us to discuss locally how we can work together as a Church to listen to each other better, how every member of the Church can take part more fully in the life of the Church, and how we can better listen to the Holy Spirit together when we make decisions in the Church. Pope Francis is asking for feedback, but he is also asking that parishes and dioceses make the effort to learn good habits so that the Holy Spirit can teach us a new way of working together. This is an ambitious project, and a process that cannot be completed overnight, but as a beginning, Pope Francis has asked that every Diocese in the world consult the People of God and provide feedback that will help him when he gathers with representative bishops from around the globe at the October 2023 Synod of Bishops in Rome.
For more information on what Pope Francis is asking of us, we have prepared two information pages – one outlining the Two Fundamental Questions that Pope Francis is asking, and the other outlining the Ten Key Themes that the Synod will be discussing.
Here in the Diocese of Kerry we hope that as many people as possible will be able to participate in listening sessions at a local level. We are also inviting individual submissions, as well as organising opportunites for discussion and listening in schools and with faith/community groups.
Individuals are welcome to make submissions to the consultation process, particularly if they are unable to participate in local listening sessions. The easiest way to do this is by completing our on-line feedback form. Every contribution will be taken on board when preparing the Diocese’s report after Easter. This report will help shape the Irish submission to the discussions at the worldwide Synod of Bishops in Rome in 2023.
However, Pope Francis has made it clear that this worldwide consultation should also be a time when every member of the Church has the opportunity to not just put their own point of view forward, but will also have the chance to listen to the insights of others, so even if you make an individual submission, you are warmly invited to take part in the listening sessions that are being organised by parishes and pastoral areas in our Diocese.
Parish/Pastoral Area Resources
Parishes and Pastoral Areas are invited to organise listening sessions according to the resources and needs of each area. Some parishes have already confirmed that they will be holding parish-based listening sessions, whilst in other parts of the Diocese parishes may choose to pool resources and organise a listening session that serves a number of parishes. These sessions will be publicised locally and on the Diocesan website. The following resources should be useful:
- Parish or Pastoral Area Listening Session Outline – This template may prove useful for parishes as an outline of how a listening session may be structured. Parishes are welcome to adapt this outline to suit local circumstances.
- Listening Session Feedback Form – Feedback from these listening sessions should be provided to the Synodal Pathway Team using this form.
- Individual Feeback Form – Parishes may also want to distribute indivdual feedback forms in churches and pastoral centres to allow those who are unable to particpate in a listening session to have their voices heard.
Secondary Schools in our Diocese are also invited to respond to Pope Francis’s invitation. Resources for classroom use are currently being prepared and will be posted on this website shortly. Contact Pathway@DioceseofKerry.org for more information.
Faith groups and other communuity groups are also invited to organise opportuinites for listening and discussion about the questions and themes that Pope Francis and the Synod of Bishops have proposed for consideration. The Synodal Pathway Team here in Kerry is already organising discussions and focus group meetings with a number of faith and community groups, and would be delighted to provide resources, advice and an opportunity to make a submission to the process. Please e-mail Pathway@DioceseofKerry.org for more information.