Synodality needs to begin at the local level

(CNS/Synod of Bishops)

The key elements of synodality – communion, participation and mission – must first be inculcated in our local communities if they are to shape the wider Church, writes Deacon Justin Stanwix. Source: La Croix International.

By now we should have adjusted to the idea and talk of a synodal Church and the meeting of a Synod of Bishops to discuss synodality. Pope Francis dropped the proposal out of the blue, really, last October, although he had been hinting at the notion for years.

We have a date and place, critical themes, an ample handbook and supporting documents to go with the formal announcement. October 2023 in Rome is fixed in the calendar.

The whole Church is to contribute. That is why it has been billed as the largest consultation process in history.

But can we have a synodal Church if we don't start the process of growing the synodal parish?

There is no rush to perfect the model instantly because we are on a journey together. But this journey needs many travellers and a commitment to go the distance.

We know that we can no longer persist in the old paradigm of comfort from inside. The public square requires us, individually and collectively, to take the Lord's message to the people and to act differently.

There is the clearest imperative to start the process. There are three key elements of synodality -- Communion, Participation and Mission. If they are to have real bite we need to begin at the local level. We, as a local parish, are a microcosm of the Church. No better place to start.

Justin Stanwix is a deacon at St Mary's Star of the Sea Parish, Milton, in the Wollongong Diocese.


Growing the Synodal parish – the cornerstone of a synodal Church (La Croix International

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