Irish Bishops Conclude Summer Meeting on Synodal Process

The Catholic Bishops of Ireland wrap up their Summer 2022 General Meeting in Maynooth, as Irish Church prepares for its National Pre-Synodal Assembly to take place on June 18, 2022.

Newsroom (21/06/2022 12:30 PM Gaudium Press)  The Synodal process in Ireland, the upcoming 10th World Meeting of Families in Rome, World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, Child safeguarding, the ongoing war in Ukraine and the subsequent refugee crisis, the situation in Northern Ireland, and the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa were among the topics discussed during the Summer 2022 General Meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The meeting was held this week at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

The National Pre-Synodal Assembly

The first point on the agenda was the Synodal process in Ireland preparing for the 2023 General Synod in Rome, and specifically the National Pre-Synodal Assembly to take place in Athlone this Saturday, 18 June, in which 160 delegates are expected to participate.

The gathering is an important moment in the first stage of the Universal Synodal process. It also marks a milestone in the five-year Synodal Pathway timeline for the Church in Ireland, comprising two phases: a two-year phase of listening and discernment (2021 – 2023) followed by a three-year phase of planning and implementation.

Address by Sister Nathalie Becquart

During the meeting, the Irish Bishops were addressed by Sister Nathalie Becquart XMCJ, Undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops, who gave a speech on Sinodality. She emphasized that Pope Francis strongly considers the most critical phase of the synodal process to be the diocesan phase as it draws on grassroots input and asks everybody to give their voice to the process regardless of their background and experience in the Church.

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Sister Becquart concluded that the local and universal synodal process for the Church is a creative path and that we have no idea where it will end. However, she said that it is through this experience of the journey, step-by-step, that the faithful are unfolding this path which, at its core, is a spiritual process. Therefore, we have to be open to the “surprises of the Holy Spirit,” she said.

War in Ukraine and refugee crisis

Among other important topics discussed during the session were the ongoing war in Ukraine and its tragic, traumatic and dehumanizing impacts for her people. The Bishops expressed great appreciation for €4.3m collected in Irish parishes for the people of Ukraine and discussed the plight of refugees in Ireland.

While welcoming the initial response of the European Union and the Government of Ireland in welcoming refugees, they expressed their concern about reports on the conditions some Ukrainian and other refugees are experiencing in Ireland. “It is incumbent on civil authorities – North and South – to assist those who have experienced hardship and displacement, and this should include cross-border cooperation on the island of Ireland,” the prelates stated.

Situation in Northern Ireland

The assembly also discussed the current situation in Northern Ireland, specifically the British government’s plans to change the Northern Ireland Protocol, part of the Brexit deal Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed with the European Union with the aim of avoiding checks on goods crossing the border with the Republic of Ireland.

In this regard, the Irish Bishops warned that these latest developments “have the potential to undermine trust in the political process and threaten economic wellbeing.”

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Preparing for the World Meeting of Families in Rome

As the Diocese of Rome prepares to host the 10th World Meeting of Families, from 22 – 25 June, on the theme ‘Family love: a vocation and a path to holiness’, bishops encouraged parishes to follow the ceremonies that will be live-streamed from the Eternal City even by way of gathering in a parish center to watch them and invited families and parishes to pray the Prayer for the World Meeting of Family 2022.

An Irish delegation is scheduled to attend the gathering comprising family members, the President of the Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, and Vice-President Archbishop Dermot Farrell of Dublin and the Chair of the Council for Marriage & Family Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare & Leighlin.

(Via Vatican News)

Compiled by Raju Hasmukh 

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