In these days, the Catholic Church throughout the world and in Ireland is beginning a series of conversations about what God wants of his people at this time. These conversations are often referred to as a Synodal Process. “Synodal” comes from a Greek word which means “walking together”. This Sunday, 17th October we mark the opening of this Synodal Process entitled, For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission. This Synodal Process coincides with the start of the two-year Synodal Pathway for the Catholic Church in Ireland which will lead, in time, to a National Synodal Assembly in Ireland.
We pray that the next two years will be a time of prayer, listening and discernment, involving a consultative conversation. This will allow all people – both within the Church and in society at large, to share their insights into the Catholic Church in Ireland – past, present and future – so that we can prepare for a National Synodal Assembly in the coming years.
Pope Francis has asked us to pray continually for the success of this synodal process. He asks that we use the words of a very ancient prayer attributed to St Isodore of Seville who lived in the 6th century. This prayer has been used at Councils and Synods of the Church since ancient times. This is the prayer:
We stand before You, Holy Spirit,
as we gather together in Your name.
With You alone to guide us,
make yourself at home in our hearts;
Teach us the way we must go
and how we are to pursue it.
We are weak and sinful;
do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path
nor partiality influence our actions.
Let us find in You our unity
so that we may journey together to eternal life
and not stray from the way of truth
and what is right.
All this we ask of You,
Who are at work in every place and time
in the communion of the Father and the Son,
forever and ever. Amen