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We’ve asked people to send in their parish submissions along with a couple of quotes and some idea of how the listening process took place.

Parish Synodal Submissions

St Michael’s, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, UK 

‘A major gearshift is required to bring the Christian Story into the third millennia to reach out to God’s children’

‘Everyone needs to be heard, irrespective of status. Continued reformation and renewal are much needed’

‘All those present at Mass each Sunday during the period of preparation and discussion were invited to remain after its conclusion to share their views, thoughts and experiences, hopes and disappointments. The process took place over a period of six weeks. By way of illumination, and possibly surprisingly, the Parish meetings largely comprised, though not exclusively, people no longer of working age.

Our parish priest, it should be noted, being responsible for two parishes, was required to leave Tetbury shortly after the conclusion of its weekly Sunday Mass to conduct Mass in Cirencester, and was therefore not involved in the discussions, though received a weekly report of each meeting.’

Full report here:-

 

St Peter’s, Eynsham, Oxfordshire, UK

‘The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said I was not alone!’

‘We are the people who have stayed in the church, but I’m struck now by how out of touch the hierarchy of the church is!’

 

‘A small parish with perhaps 100-120 really active parishioners. Following the introductory meeting from the parish priest, four Synodal Pathway groups addressed Formation, Liturgy & Worship, Social Outreach and Evangelisation. Each group met two or three times. Some attendees also shared discussions they had had with friends and family, or with people who no longer attend Mass, especially younger people, or with members of other Christian denominations.

‘The groups were open, honest, and often emotional and moving. When the parish priest, who was supportive throughout, joined us part-way through the process, this open atmosphere did not change but was in fact reinforced.’

Full report here:-

 

St Nicholas of Tolentino Synod Report, Bristol, UK

‘Need to put faith into action – we must not be just “Sunday Catholics”’

‘Just as our ancestors’ let go of the blood sacrifices and rituals of the Temple, drawn from pagan traditions, when they gradually understood more clearly God’s purposes, we should let go of our idolatrous grasp of patriarchy and paternalism.’

After praying together for some months 20 facilitators helped set up thirteen groups – meeting physically and online, and via email. ‘We were unable to facilitate a group for our South Asian parishioners, and it was difficult to properly give time for our children’s voices to be heard too.’ Submissions were also sent in via email.

‘Our pastor, Richard McKay, challenges us with Jesus’ words. He opens up space for critical thinking about how we respond to the Gospel. The huge response to the synod invitation… seems a live response to the Gospel we have heard.’

Full report here:-

 

Holy Spirit, Gt Bardfield & English Martyrs, Thaxted, Essex, UK 

‘We need to listen to each other within our community and outside. We need more than just Mass on a Sunday and above all we need a Listening Church’

‘It is not a Listening Church. Most people do not discuss difficult issues with the clergy’

We asked everyone: What stops Catholics from practising their faith?

To balance this, we also asked everyone to write down what keeps them in the Catholic faith

Full report here:-

 

Portsmouth Cathedral Parish 

‘‘Dialogue between the institutional Church and people seems a little one way’
 

‘Sensitive issues like clergy abuse need to be spoken openly and honestly about.
There is a clerical culture that needs to be addressed and changed’

 

‘A Church with men in ceremonial robes, dressed as pre Vatican II clergy is about them and not about relating to the people. They sometimes appear priests (for themselves) and not pastors (for the people)


The Portsmouth Cathedral parish synodal meetings were advertised in the parish newsletter. A single 2-hour evening meeting was set up to discuss and receive input. This was repeated on an afternoon for those who could not attend the evening meeting. Participants expressed the inadequacy of these short meetings for a synodal event of such major importance. 

Full report here:-

 

St Mary and St George’s, Totnes

‘We feel as a family with our parish, our priest and the Pope (but there is a blob in between)’ 


‘“They’ll know they are Christians by their love” is not obvious in the hierarchy’
 

‘It is in the body of the Church where the wisdom is, not the hierarchy’ 


We are a small but active parish, with a mature demographic. We arranged four weeks of feedback (over two months) over the usual coffee morning after the Sunday Mass and one weekday Mass with questions provided by the diocese as a starting point but without limitation for participants. Our parishioners love our Church. Older people feel great pain that young parents, who are good people, do not attend Church perhaps because the Church doesn’t hear their needs. We acknowledge that it is demographically dying and want change in order to reinvigorate it - which may involve confronting painful truths. 

Full report here:-

 

A group from rural south-west England

‘All Masses and Liturgies should involve us all, together, and should be prayerful, dignified, simple and beautiful, as Jesus taught.’
 

‘A rigid hierarchical structure and individual inability to adapt to change damages relationships and trust.’
 

We are a group of lifelong Catholics, converts and others of faith. With our parish churches closed, and parish activities suspended, we met together during Covid lockdowns for prayer and mutual support, both on-line and subsequently in our own homes. 


Finding that we were not being listened to in our parish, we contributed to the Holy Father’s synodal process. We met weekly over several weeks to pray together and framed our discussions around the topics of Mission, Communion and Participation. All contributions were recorded anonymously and were then collated and distilled to produce this document and envisage a way forward.

Full report here:-

 

St Peter the Apostle, Leamington Spa,

St Joseph’s, Whitnash & Our Lady’s, Lillington

‘There is an overwhelming and uncontested sense that the time has come for women to play the fullest part in the life of the Church, with avenues of leadership and responsibility – lay and ministerial – that have remained closed off down the ages demanding to be opened.’
 

‘Fruitful cooperation and respectful dialogue would be the defining traits of our relationship with other faiths and other Christian denominations, and with the latter we would come together eagerly in shared acts of worship.’
 

Our Walking Together Programme was headed up by 10 lay enablers. After praying in all the parishes about the 10 nuclei - areas for reflection, 160 people attended seven open meetings and five meetings of existing parish groups. Each covered two/three questions. 137 questionnaires were returned and prayerfully analysed. The enablers’ discernment feedbacks were aggregated separately for each of the questions tackled. Over 20% of the parish engaged.

Full report here:-

 

A group of Ōtari parishioners, within the

Archdiocese of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

Our submission encapsulates our Ōtari experience, our place, identity, experiences, listening to the Holy Spirit, and our discernment. We see ourselves as travellers and companions in a pilgrim church.’


‘In future, when we look in the mirror at ourselves, our Church and our church community of Aotearoa NZ, the reflection should be representative of our society, our cultures, our communities, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and our Mission.’

Phase 1 discussions were on Zoom over 6 weeks October-November 2021 with breakout groups on 2xSynod Themes each week. Phase 2 focused on preparation for a submission document. We met once face-to-face during Phase 2 and final document preparation was completed via emails. Some of us are old enough to remember Vatican II and hold onto the hopes and aspirations that followed. This is the last best chance to fulfil those expectations and generate change in the church.

Full report here:-

 

Saint Cuthbert’s Parish, Diocese of Salford

‘We need to be open to change if we are to move forward.'

'It also made us realise that prayer can take place anywhere.’

 

This response is drawn from a Parish discussion meeting held on the 8th of February 2022, and consultation in the form of a Parish questionnaire that was completed during Masses over the weekend 19th to the 20th of February 2022 in place of a homily. 94 completed adult questionnaires were received representing individuals, couples, and families, and 7 separate young people questionnaires.

‘The synod response seems to be very insular and parochial to me, but I am responding to your request for more information.’ - R&Ber

Full report here:-

 

St Mary’s Harvington, St Wulstan’s, Stourport on Severn

and The Holy Family , Bewdley, Worcestershire

‘Parishioners are passionate about their faith.’
 

‘The Church fails or struggles to respond to’ our concerns ‘over clericalized culture of the hierarchy and priesthood, the scandal of child abuse, the doctrines at odds with contemporary values, the marginalisation of women, the absence of the young and of several lost generations’
 

There were 2 very good meetings and the report is a very fair account of the responses of the parishioners; it was very much welcomed by the Parish Priest and the Priest in Residence at St Mary’s.

Full report here:-

 

Sacred Heart Wimbledon, Archdiocese of Southwark 

 

  • “If we were an evangelising parish, we wouldn’t have shrunk over the past ten or fifteen years from 5000 parishioners to just around 2000: we would have grown to seven or ten thousand!” 

  • “Where are the women?” - women have a subordinate role in all offices of the church. The church is ‘patriarchal.’ There has even been a suppression & oppression of women too. Improvement wanted for the role of women in the church. 

  • ‘We should be a little cautious about holding regular Synods (and increasing the influence of the laity) in the church (-like the Anglican church). We must remember that Jesus appointed a ‘Head’ of the church in-the-beginning – i.e. Peter! (the Pope /Hierarchy). ‘ 

  • ‘The Synod should not be used as a means to introduce anything heretical or against the faith.’ 

 

Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, is one of the largest Catholic parishes in England. 

The church was designed to foster a catholic community in an area without a dense catholic population. Nowadays, with a community of approximately 2000 regular church attenders, it maintains close links with several schools in the locality 

In October 2021, two synod delegates were appointed.  ‘Listening events’ in the parish commenced in early November 2021. As many parishioners as possible were invited to contribute to the process. An estimated 150 people participated in this listening process.  

Full report here:-