Parramatta Diocese concluded its inaugural Synod on Sunday, an event that brought together 280 faithful from across Western Sydney, the Blue Mountains and beyond to discuss the future of the local Church.
The culmination of over six months of listening and consultation sessions, the Synod was a gathering of 200 selected members to discuss, discern, and vote on 25 resolutions under key themes that were raised as part of the consultation sessions.
Joining the members were 12 observers representing various Catholic and Christian organisations to provide oversight and validate the proceedings, along with several “Periti” – experts in theology and canon law – as well as many staff and volunteers.
Commencing on Friday evening with an opening Mass and commissioning of delegates at St Patrick’s Cathedral and then moving to CommBank Stadium, Parramatta Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv welcomed all as “not passive congregants but protagonists and subjects of evangelisation.”
Throughout the weekend, members were placed in small groups where they took turns to provide their perspectives, listen actively to others, reflect in silence, and then discuss what they heard from others. This method of spiritual conversations was derived from Ignatian Spirituality and not only gave the event a productive structure but allowed for an opening up and honesty from all participants.
Facilitated by Professor Br David Hall FMS and Dr Trish Hindmarsh, each session concluded with voting on the resolutions. Twenty-three of the 25 resolutions received the required two-thirds majority, with one resolution revisited and gaining enough votes to pass.
In his closing remarks, Bishop Long said the “Synod has been much more than an event”.
“It is a template and a model for engagement, discernment and decision-making process. More than a destination that says we have arrived, it is a journey of ongoing learning, openness and alignment with the Spirit,” Bishop Long said.
The Diocese of Parramatta holds its first-ever Synod Assembly this weekend (Parramatta Diocese)