Discussion on the Synod’s Instrumentum Laboris

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The Synod on Synodality, launched in October 2021, is one of the most important initiatives of Pope Francis’ pontificate. It also represents the widest process of listening/consultation ever to have taken place across the worldwide Catholic Church. Its purpose – as the word “synod” signifies – is to enable all the members of the Church to learn better how to journey together, a journeying together that seeks to give witness to the mission entrusted to it by the Risen Christ. Through the gift and guidance of the Spirit the whole process seeks to open horizons of hope for the fulfilment of the Church’s mission.

Following the first phase of the Synod, namely the diocesan, national and continental synodal consultations over the last two years, a second phase now opens. This consists of two Synodal Assemblies at the international level (October 2023 and October 2024): the aim ‘will be to animate the synodal process in the ordinary life of the Church, identifying which pathways the Spirit invites us to walk along more decisively as one People of God’.

The basis for discussion in the October 2023 Synodal Assembly is the Instrumentum Laboris (IL) or Working Paper. The aim and value of this paper is that: firstly, it articulates priorities – ‘pathways the Spirit invites us to walk along’ – that have emerged in the worldwide listening process; secondly, it presents these priorities not as solutions or decisions, but as questions/paths that require further discernment and action in the years ahead.

What is meant by Communion Participation and Mission?

Communion: Bringing people together as communities in the local Church begins this prayerful insight into the ways of the Holy Spirit. When the Church gathers for the Eucharist, and what flows from it, is when the necessary self-understanding of the mission of the Church is best understood. Thus the dialogue at this level is rooted in the life of the ecclesial communities and parishes.Participation: The reflections that the local Churches are undertaking regarding the past 15 months of pandemic from the context of how the Church in England and Wales looks forward, not backwards, to revitalising its mission of bringing the Good News to all. The gentle invitation to the full practice of Catholic life, with the Eucharist at the centre of all the Church does, is an integral part of the “walking together”.Mission: Understanding the local situation will feed necessarily into an overview of the mission in the whole diocese. Like the tesserae of mosaic, the picture is built up of the needs for renewal so that mission to all is firmly rooted in the life of the local community who gather, by the gentle invitation of the Lord, to worship him, to be sanctified by him and to exercise both an individual and collective prophetic voice.

While these priorities will be discussed by those taking part in the October Assembly, the publication of Instrumentum Laboris is also an invitation to the baptised around the world to discuss and discern further. This in its turn could help contribute, over the next twelve months, to the Synodal Assembly in October 2024, which will be the last phase of the current synodal process.

On 5th October, MBIT is offering a two-hour Zoom session as an invitation to discuss and reflect upon the priorities and questions raised by the Synodal paper. This session will not consist of talks; it will not be recorded. Priorities and questions identified by the paper will be offered for discussion and reflection, with as much participation by those present as possible. The session will be led by:

Dr Peter Coughlan – In August 1965 Peter was appointed to the Vatican’s Consilium for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and thus followed closely the development of the three new eucharistic prayers. In 1973 he was appointed as a member of the commission charged with drawing up three new eucharistic prayers for use with children and two new eucharistic prayers on the theme of reconciliation.

Anne Marie O’Reardon – A visiting lecturer at Margaret Beaufort Institute.

Please find a link to the document here: Instrumentum Laboris

Details of the Zoom link will follow when you sign up.

For more details about this event please contact Adele: aa2451@mbit.cam.ac.uk

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