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Synod Information

What is the Synod?

A Synod is a gathering of the Church to discuss important issues and advise the Pope accordingly. Since 1965, the process has involved Bishops from all over the world meeting in Rome. Pope Francis wants to change this to ensure that every Catholic can play an active part. This is an exciting opportunity for us to help shape the future of our Church.

Over the next two years, the Synod invites us, as Catholics, to journey together as the pilgrim people of God. This is appropriate as the word ‘synod’ literally means ‘journey together’. All of us are being encouraged to prayerfully reflect on our experiences and think about how the Church should be in the third millennium. We will share our thoughts with each other, listening carefully to discern what the Holy Spirit is telling us.

We have until Friday 4th February to share our considered thoughts with Bishop Richard. Here at St Joseph’s, we encourage as many parishioners as possible to do so. To help you, we will provide various opportunities to take part and support you throughout the process. The following section explains how we will do this.

The Synod asks us two fundamental questions:

  • How well do we ‘journey together’ in our parish and diocese to proclaim the Gospel?
  • What steps does the Holy Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our ‘journeying together’?

These questions are explored through three themes: communion, participation and mission. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions about the Synod, please share them with us by email:

How can I get involved?

As a parish, we will explore the three Synodal themes during January:

  • ‘Communion’ during the week beginning Sunday 9th January
  • ‘Participation’ during the week beginning Sunday 16th January
  • ‘Mission’ during the week beginning Sunday 23rd January

Each week, three online discussion groups are meeting (on Monday, Thursday & Friday) using Zoom. You will find the participant packs below in the Downloads section. You will also find a linked resource there to support parishioners who wish to discuss these topics within informal family and friendship groups. We are helping the older children in our parish school to explore the topics in a suitable way. They are learning more about the Synodal process and being given the opportunity to talk about the three themes and share their thoughts.

At the end of the month, we are offering the chance for in-person groups as an alternative to the online groups. This event will take place between 2pm and 5pm on Saturday 29th January in the church hall. If you would like a place, please email Chris Donovan (


Prayer for the Synod

We stand before You, Holy Spirit,
as we gather together in Your name.

With You alone to guide us,
make Yourself at home in our hearts;
Teach us the way we must go
and how we are to pursue it.

We are weak and sinful;
do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path
nor partiality influence our actions.

Let us find in You our unity
so that we may journey together to eternal life
and not stray from the way of truth
and what is right.

All this we ask of You,
who are at work in every place and time,
in the communion of the Father and the Son,
forever and ever. Amen.

Useful links


Bishops Conference of England & Wales


A&B Logo Bishops Conference Logo Holy See Logo
Arundel & Brighton Synod Bishops Conference Synod Vatican Synod
This includes useful resources that
we will use in the parish
Helpful overview, including timeline and FAQs Lots of information and resources
to support our synodal journey


What does the Synod mean for Catholics in England and Wales?

Fr Chris Thomas, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and Father Jan Nowotnik, Director of Mission, discuss the process and explain this invitation to communion, participation and mission.