The first session of the Maitland-Newcastle diocesan synod process took place on Saturday, with 400 people gathering in prayer, community and hope for the future of the diocese and the Church. Source: MNnews.Today.
Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Bill Wright convoked the diocesan synod in August. He said the synod would run for several years to “examine, reflect on the state, the Church, the faith of Christ among us and to find ways to more faithfully fulfil our calling to be the body of Christ and the witness to his Gospel and his salvation in our community around us”.
Bishop Wright asked those gathered on Saturday to ponder a question based on the Plenary Council’s six National Themes for Discernment themes:
As disciples of Christ, what needs to happen in our hearts and in our minds and in our community for us to be a Christ-centred church that is missionary and evangelising; inclusive, participative and synodal; prayerful and eucharistic; humble, healing and merciful; joyful, hope-filled and a servant of the community; and open to conversion, renewal and reform?
Fr Richard Lennan travelled from Boston specifically to be with the people of his diocese to break open the “missionary and evangelising” theme. He noted being missionary is not so much what a person does, as what a person is. He said people need to be self-critical and humble in order to be open to the life-giving qualities that enable them to be agents of good news in the world.
Sr Lauretta Baker RSJ facilitated the “inclusive, participatory and synodal” workshop and engaged with those who attended in exploring perception of Church and the factors that impact on perception.
Lismore Bishop Greg Homeming OCD spoke of being “prayerful and eucharistic”, explaining that only in authentic prayerfulness and gratitude can the joy of who we are shine out.
Mary Ringstad, director of mission at Calvary Mater Hospital, presented the theme of “humble, healing and merciful”. She led an exploration of why this emerged as a key theme within the Plenary Council.
Ursula Stephens, chief executive of Catholic Social Services Australia, spoke with passion about the vulnerable and marginalised people who are served by those in our parishes and in Catholic social services across the country. She expressed the need for Catholics to respond to the call of the Holy Spirit to build a “joyful, hope-filled and servant community” of believers.
Synod question makes strong statement (MNnews.Today)
Dioceses join in the Plenary Council spirit (CathNews)