For a Synodal Church

“Synods are an ancient form of church gatherings, stretching back to the Acts of the Apostles. Now Pope Francis is asking us to gather in the same way. This synodal process is about graceful listening and graceful speaking, in which each person’s contribution is valued.” Bishop David

At the launch of the Synod, Pope Francis described it as “a journey of spiritual discernment guided by God’s word”. He said:

“That word summons us to discernment, and it brings light to that process. It guides the synod, preventing it becoming a Church ‘convention’ a study group or a political congress, because it is not a parliament, but rather a grace-filled event, a process of healing guided by the Holy Spirit,”

During the month of January 2022, in the Parish of St Francis of Assisi, Shefford, the opportunity for all to speak and be listened to was provided.

Through a series of opportunities, Parish Groups, before and after Mass, Online meetings and Individual written contributions, people have provided their thoughts and opinions.

Through LISTENING, the thoughts have been captured from all participants, documented and submitted to the Diocese in Northampton. This input will now form part of the Northampton Diocese submission to Westminster, who in turn will include this in its submission to the Vatican in Rome.

The listening was under the main headings of:

  • Communion: We as a Church are spread out around the world, around the country, around the diocese, and even around the parish, but we are all united, as one, through baptism.
    • So, the question was – What does it mean to you to be a Catholic?
  • Participation: Every effort must be made to include all in this listening process, especially reaching out to those on the margins
    • So, the questions were – What are your experiences of the Church doing something well?
    • And equally – What are your experiences of when things have not gone so well?
  • Mission: We as Lay People have a vital part in the mission of the Church as we move forward.
    • So, the question was – What are our dreams for the Church?

The following document is the final report – click below to view and download the file:

After reading the document, please say the Prayer for the Synod:

Prayer for the Synod

We stand before You, Holy Spirit,

as we gather together in Your name.

With You alone to guide us,

make Yourself at home in our hearts;

Teach us the way we must go

and how we are to pursue it.

We are weak and sinful;

do not let us promote disorder.

Do not let ignorance

lead us down the wrong path

nor partiality influence our actions.

Let us find in You our unity

so that we may journey together

to eternal life and not stray

from the way of truth and what is right.

All this we ask of You,

who are at work in every place and time,

in the communion of the Father and the Son,

forever and ever.


Find out more about the Synod: