Our Diocesan Synthesis for the Universal Synod 2021 – 2023
This Diocesan phase of the Universal Synod has been understood as an exercise in listening. It was organised by a working group of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, and it involved a series of specific Focus Groups along with some larger gatherings of parishioners and clergy from each of the six deaneries and three online surveys for adults, third level students and young people (12-19 years of age).
The report which follows represents a synthesis of the comments made by approximately 1,000 people throughout the Diocese of Elphin. Emphasis has been placed on comments which form a thread running through the responses, but without losing sight of comments which reflect a minority view. The report is about what people think, what they have experienced and how they feel. It is not intended to be a statement of policy or a proposal for pastoral or institutional renewal. These, hopefully, will follow at a later stage in the process.
This listening and consultation phase of the Universal Synod has engaged many people from around the Diocese in a way that is new. For many it was the first time they were involved in such a process, and as a result, the sense of hope, energy, goodwill, and positivity was palpable. It afforded participants, representing wide and varied backgrounds and experiences, the opportunity to be heard without fear of judgement or criticism. It created a space for them to express their dreams, their hopes, their fears, their views, and their experience within a non-threatening, listening environment, that supported honesty and transparency. There is a deep longing that a new way of being Church can emerge and that the seeds of hope, captured, planted, and expressed so eloquently, by so many, would form the foundation for continued dialogue, conversations, and engagement.
We are a people who live in the light of the Resurrected Christ, and hope fills our hearts as we look forward to a new springtime in the Church. We pray that you will read this Synthesis with an open heart, respecting all voices and points of view contained within it.
On behalf of the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the Synod Working Group, we would like to express our sincere thanks to all who participated in the process in our Diocese. Saint Asicus, Pray for Us!
Diocesan Synod Synthesis Team, 29th May 2022
Bishop Kevin Doran, Ms Fidelma Croghan, Ms Bernie Flynn, Fr John McManus, Fr Michael Drumm, Ms Sheena Darcy, Dr Justin Harkin, Mr Frank McGuinness