This afternoon, the Diocese of Parramatta will celebrate another significant milestone in its young history – the beginning of the first-ever Diocesan Synod.
On Thursday night, hundreds of members of our faith communities in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains gathered at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, to celebrate this historic occasion with singing, dancing, prayer and witness during Catholic Youth Parramatta’s LIFTED Live in the Forecourt.
Normally celebrated around the Feast Day of Pope St John Paul II, patron saint of young people, this year’s LIFTED Live in the Forecourt invited young people to embrace the synodal journey the Diocese has been walking on for the past six months and to have their voices heard ahead of the three-day assembly this weekend.
Like the disciples in the Gospel story of the road to Emmaus, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, hopes that the Synod will discover a new-found enthusiasm for the mission of the Church in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
“This Synod brings all people together – representatives of parishes, agencies, clergy, those in consecrated life in order to discern and to chart a way into the future.
“A Synod is about walking together, listening together and discerning together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
“Your prayers, your communion with us, your solidarity with us will be much appreciated.
“Thank you for being here and sharing in the joy of our Catholic faith, which is the guiding light for all of us as we endeavour to live our Christian lives and be the house build on a hill, as the Lord says.”
In sharing their hopes for the Synod, young members Anna Amos from St Andrew the Apostle Parish, Marayong and Andrew Gorkic from Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Rouse Hill, emphasised the need to move forward together, guided by the Holy Spirit.
Andrew said, “my hope is that through this Synod process, Church will have a culture shift – that we will come together, speak about the issues that are prevalent in our Church today, look at things differently, be more reflective and more in tune with the Spirit as a group, not in our silos.
“If you haven’t heard much about the Synod or synodality, I encourage you to lean in. The Synod is a process, it’s not just the one event that’s happening this weekend and it’s more than the members of the Synod that are part of this process. As young people, there’s an opportunity for us to understand what it means for us and how we can get involved.”
Anna added, “my hope is that we can dream big together as a Catholic Church. The Synod is a great opportunity for us to talk to people that we’ve probably never encountered – people from all walks of life, whether they’re ordained, in religious life or a regular person. It’s a chance for us to be at the same level and just talk and journey with each other.
“Don’t be afraid to be authentic. Don’t be afraid to journey with one another. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and embrace synodality.
“One way you can help us is to keep us in your prayers. Please pray for us that we have a fruitful Synod, that we all come into it with an open mind and a listening heart.”
LIFTED Live in the Forecourt also provided an opportunity to showcase the gifts and talents of our young people, including:
- Locally run Catholic businesses displayed a range of products including t-shirts, jewellery and artwork.
- Catholic networking groups such as Embers basketball and Franciscan Men invited young people to explore their faith in new ways.
- Young musicians from schools and parishes played and sung with heart.
- A breakdancing crew from St Andrew’s Catholic College, Marayong, busted a groove on the Cathedral stairs.
You’re invited to join us for the Diocese of Parramatta’s 2023 Synod Opening Mass, a momentous occasion filled with faith and community. Today at 7:00pm AEDT, Bishop Vincent will lead the Solemn Votive Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, to invoke the blessings of the Holy Spirit upon our Synod.
Experience this sacred event live by tuning in to the St Patrick’s Cathedral YouTube channel.
We ask for your prayers for our Synod assembly taking place this weekend.
View images from LIFTED Live in the Forecourt here or below: