The countdown is on to the first-ever Synod for the Diocese of Parramatta this weekend. In preparation for the event, Synod members had a reflection and formation session a few weeks ago to meet each other for the first time and share their unique stories.
On Friday 22 September, 170 Synod Members gathered in the Hub at St John XXIII Catholic College, Stanhope Gardens, to build connection and deepen their understanding of the Synod and their role as a member.
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, and Presider of the Synod, delivered an address emphasising the importance of the shared mission and the impact it has on the wider community.
“I value each and every person’s input and pray that together we can find unity in diversity, articulate a common vision and chart a shared pathway forward,” he said.
“We cannot have a better future if we are not responsive to the call of the Spirit to go out into the deep and step into a new future beyond the safety, familiarity and security that we have known.
“Here in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, we are in a unique position to co-create the synodal Church that Pope Francis has envisaged.
“We were the first diocese in Australia to undertake the most comprehensive, independent and external review of our governance. It provided the impetus and a launching pad for reform of how the Church in Parramatta should conduct its mission.
“The Diocesan Synod is truly a momentous leap of faith and a significant milestone in the life of the Diocese.”
Members were then invited to meet new people and share stories about their family and faith communities by engaging in spiritual conversations that will be the norm during the assembly.
One of the Synod members, Fr Clifford D’souza, Parish Priest of St Bernadette’s Parish, Lalor Park, shared the value of meeting other members, stating that “what struck me in our one-on-one sharing was the faith stories [of other members] and how that influenced their journey to what they are today”.
Fellow member Lorraine Murphy from Christ the King Parish, North Rocks, added, “The round table sharing was a helpful experience and I think I can be passionate about the process even if detached about the outcome. Come Holy Spirit live in us!”.
With the Synod assembly being held from 13 to 15 October, members were given a detailed overview of the weekend’s proceedings and provided an opportunity to ask any clarifying questions.
With this formation evening as a stepping stone, the Synod members left more prepared, with a renewed sense of hope, ready to take on the challenges and responsibilities that are ahead.
“It was exciting seeing how hopeful my table was for how the Spirit will move through the upcoming Synod,” Synod member Andrew Gorkic from Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Rouse Hill, explained. “I’m looking forward to continuing to journey with and accompanying my fellow synod members in the coming days.”
We invite all members of our faith community to attend both the opening Mass on Friday evening at 7pm and the closing Mass on Sunday evening at 6pm, both held at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta. These Masses will be livestreamed on the St Patrick’s Cathedral YouTube channel.