More than 700 submissions have been made through the national online Synod of Bishops portal, with a large number of those made by groups of varying sizes. It is estimated that several thousand people have engaged in the process so far.
Some responses have also been sent directly to dioceses for inclusion in their local reports.
Trudy Dantis, director of the National Centre for Pastoral Research and national coordinator for the Synod of Bishops process, said there has been a steady increase in the number of submissions each week over the past several weeks.
“As with any invitation to the public to take part in a consultation of this type, we expect a final flurry of contributions leading up to the final day this Sunday – March 13,” Dr Dantis said.
“There was a sense of relief from people when the February 27 deadline was extended by two weeks. It was good to be able to adapt our local plans to fit with the hopes and needs of dioceses and the People of God.”
Dr Dantis said dioceses will receive a report on submissions made to the portal from their communities by the start of April, at which time they will prepare a diocesan synthesis.
“There will be rich and varied content from these recent months of the Synod of Bishops process, but dioceses will also be able to draw upon other local content for their report,” she said.
“That might include the submissions made to the Plenary Council in the areas of communion, participation and mission. It might include the outcomes of local synods or assemblies held in recent years. All that content can enhance a diocese’s contribution to this universal journey.”
Dioceses will each hold a gathering to celebrate and conclude the local consultation stage over the next several weeks.
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, and the Australian bishops will later engage with other episcopal conferences in the Pacific to prepare a regional contribution.
“Thank you to everyone who has already shared their voice within this Synod of Bishops process,” Dr Dantis said.
“Time is running out – but it’s not too late. The portal will be open until midnight this Sunday.”
Find out more and access the resources at: https://www.catholic.org.au/synodalchurch