Dioceses across Australia are currently preparing reports on the local consultation phase of the global Synod on Synodality, which will shape the development of a national synthesis to be sent to the Holy See.
Between October and March, individuals and groups were invited to reflect on and respond to a series of questions across the Synod of Bishops’ three key themes: communion, participation and mission.
When the online portal for submissions closed in March, more than 1100 responses had been received through that platform on behalf of thousands of people. Dioceses also received submissions directly from groups and individuals.
The content that has been gathered over the past five months will be augmented by other processes that have considered the role of synodality in the life of the Church. Those processes include the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia, as well as local synods and assemblies.
Trudy Dantis, the national coordinator of the Synod of Bishops and director of the National Centre for Pastoral Research, said the various sources of information will allow for meaningful reports to be prepared.
“With respondents asked to submit no more than 250 words through the online portal, the reports we have provided to dioceses range from a few pages to dozens of pages,” she said.
“When you add the significant content that was gathered during the Plenary Council’s initial Listening and Dialogue phase, which was also collated at the diocesan level, there is rich material for each diocese to draw into their Synod of Bishops reports.”
Dioceses are also invited to host a gathering to celebrate and conclude the local consultation stage, with liturgical resources available on the Synod of Bishops website to support those celebrations.
Based on the diocesan reports, the National Centre for Pastoral Research will prepare a national synthesis that will be finalised during three sessions with the bishops in May and June.
The Church in Australia will provide its consolidated report to the Holy See in August.
Bishop Shane Mackinlay, the vice president of the Plenary Council, has said the outcomes of the Council’s second assembly in July, where relevant to the Synod’s themes, could be captured in that Australian report.
Find out more about the Synod of Bishops process at: https://www.catholic.org.au/synodalchurch