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Archdiocese of Liverpool Synod 2020

By Marie Reynolds, Nugent Caritas Manager

Over three years ago, Archbishop Malcolm shared the vision behind Synod. He reflected on the importance of listening in his role as Archbishop and how his decision to call a Synod was inspired by the need to hear the hopes, fears, and challenges faced by the members of our diocesan community.

The word “synod” is a combination of two Greek words — sun (meaning “with”) and odos (meaning “path”). A Synod is a gathering of people who reflect, discern and listen to the Holy Spirit. In some ways, it’s a bit like a review, a chance to stop and listen to others and hear their thoughts in order to decide on what’s important and what our priorities should be.

Four members of the Nugent Caritas team (Jonathan Hurley, Denise Armstrong, Mary Beatham and Marie Reynolds) became Synod members and attended various events through the three-year journey and represented the views of the people, we, as Nugent serve. We were asked to listen to what people thought and all parishes and groups were asked the following four questions:
1. Where in your everyday life do you experience love, truth, goodness, hope, and joy?
2. When you reflect on your life now, and as you look to the future, what causes you concern or worry?
3. What is the purpose of the Catholic Church in the world today?
4. Having reflected on these things, what are the topics you would like to see on the agenda of Synod 2020?

We changed the questions into a more accessible format and visited Nugent projects. We met with beneficiaries to ensure that the views of those we serve were heard. The views of our beneficiaries were joined with everyone else’s and in total there were over 27,000 responses to the questions!

The responses had been put into four themes which resulted in 19 recommendations and these were what we voted on. A few weeks ago over 400 of us met online at the Synod Voting Day. It was a long but great day with contributions from the papal nuncio, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, and Cardinal Mario Grech, the secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops in Rome.

After we had voted, the recommendations that were considered a priority by the Synod members are young people, evangelisation, inclusivity, the role of women, lay ministry and love of neighbour. These priorities express a desire to reach out to others and not to be an inward-looking and closed community; instead to be an outward-looking and inclusive church, very much like Nugent, looking out, being inclusive and all playing our part.

A group of people are now meeting to write up a pastoral plan on how we move forward, how we bring life and action to the plan. The full list of the voting results went online hours after we had voted and can be seen here.

When the four of us started on the Synod journey one of our main concerns was that as a faith community we needed to be more inclusive. So we were ‘chuffed’ when this came out as a priority for so many others too!
The Synod team have produced a short three-minute video. You can see highlights of the Synod Day below.

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