During their 2020 Winter General Meeting, bishops decided to proceed along a Synodal Pathway and, since then, have been assisted and greatly encouraged by Cardinal Mario Grech and Sr Natalie Becquart, of the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops in Rome, who addressed the Irish bishops on the theme of synodality on 3 February.
Following the Spring 2021 General Meeting, bishops announced that a new Synodal Pathway for the Catholic Church in Ireland is to take place which will lead to the holding of a national synodal assembly, or assemblies, within the next five years.
At their Summer General Meeting meeting this week, bishops expressed their thanks for the over 550 submissions received from the public as part of the initial phase of the Synodal Pathway.
By a happy coincidence, these first two years of our Synodal Pathway in Ireland will complement the Catholic Church’s worldwide journey towards the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of Bishops in Rome entitled, For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission. This 9 and 10 October Pope Francis will officially launch the Universal Synod and has asked that the whole Church prepare for this Synod which is scheduled to take place in Rome in October 2023.
Bishops decided to establish a Synodal Steering Committee and a Synodal Task Group to help move forward the Synodal Pathway process for Ireland. Bishops announced that Dr Nicola Brady has been appointed as chair of the Synodal Steering Committee and the vice-chairs appointed are Mr Andrew O’Callaghan and Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick (see biographies below). The full membership of the Steering Committee and of the Synodal Task Group will be published as part of the official launch of the Synodal Pathway in the coming months.
Following her appointment Dr Brady said, “The Synodal Pathway is an important and hope-filled development in the life of the Catholic Church in Ireland and I am grateful for the opportunity to help guide and shape this work.”
For more on the Synodal Pathway see www.catholicbishops.ie/synod.