Diocesan Consultations in 2024
Dioceses are being asked to aim for the widest participation possible, determining “what is possible in the time available and the best approach to take”. The General Secretariat guidelines ask that consultation groups “involve people and groups that express a variety of experiences, skills, charisms, ministries within the People of God, and whose point of view is of help in focusing on the ‘how’”.
It is important to note that this process does not involve going back to the grassroots to begin parish-level consultations again. Rather, building on what has already occurred, it is recommended that dioceses engage with existing structures, particularly with leadership and key stakeholder groups already present in the diocese, to reflect on the key questions and identify future pathways and tools for mission.
Diocesan Contact Person
Each diocese has been asked to appoint a diocesan contact. The diocesan contact will be responsible for:
- Liaising with the NCPR regarding the Synod consultation and other synodal activities;
- Coordinating and promoting the Synod consultation within their diocese;
- Receiving the responses from group reflections required as part of the consultation;
- Preparing the Diocesan Summary of group responses;
- Preparing the (optional) diocesan Testimony;
- Forwarding the Summary Report and diocesan Testimony to the NCPR by Friday, 19 April 2024.
Teresa Brierley, Director of Pastoral Ministries is our Diocesan Contact Person.
Reflection Questions and Reflection Guide
Group reflections for this stage are guided by the theme of being a synodal Church in mission. The main question is: “How can we enhance the differentiated co-responsibility in the mission of all the members of the People of God?”. This is followed by two subsequent questions.
The goal is to identify the paths we can follow and the tools we might adopt in different contexts and circumstances to enhance the unique contribution of each baptised person and of each Church in the one mission of proclaiming the Risen Lord and his Gospel to the world today.
The NCPR has prepared a Reflection Guide to assist groups with this process. This follows a similar format to previous consultations and will be familiar to those who have participated in the Synod process thus far. The guide includes the key reflection questions as well as information on the chapters of the Synthesis Report that are pertinent to the discussion. The Reflection Guide is also available from the Synod website https://catholic.org.au/synodalchurch.
Responses from each group reflection will be sent to the Diocesan Contact Person, who will prepare the Diocesan Summary. Dioceses are also invited to provide a brief Testimony of work done and experiences of synodality, including any best practices that they consider significant.
The period for diocesan consultations will run from 1 February to 30 March 2024.
We understand that this is a very limited timeframe. However, we will need the remaining time to allow dioceses to compile and submit their summary reports to the NCPR, and to allow us to prepare and submit the National Report to the General Secretariat by the deadline of 15 May 2024.
A Timeline of the Diocesan Stage can be found here, outlining key steps and dates in the process from Feb to April 2024.
Toward a Constitutively Synodal Church – Free Online Course
Free Registration for the Third Intercontinental Massive Online Course (MOOC) is now open. The MOOC will address the theme Toward a Constitutively Synodal Church. All videos will be facilitated virtually in March 2024 and will be offered at no cost to participants worldwide. Lectures that are pre-recorded and available in Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, Italian, Polish and German can be watched at any time throughout the month of March. The detailed programme is available here: https://bit.ly/3S79GKc . For more information or to register, go to: https://formaciononline.bc.edu
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