This weekend at the Saturday Vigil Mass at Westminster Cathedral, Cardinal Nichols leads the Diocese in launching the Westminster Synodal Pathway. This is a two-year journey of listening, reflecting, and sharing for the whole Church. The Holy Father launched this worldwide process last Sunday at St Peter’s Rome. He summarised the process in three words: ENCOUNTER, LISTEN, and DISCERN. Cardinal Vincent has posed these questions: “What have we learnt from our experience of the Pandemic? What does it mean for us as a church? What are the implications as we move forward?” I am grateful to Jackie Ugoala who is our parish representative, and she will be our main link with the process. She will be attending the Mass on behalf of the parish.

Over the next couple of weeks, there will be training to help us decide how to follow this process. In our parish, there will be a series of events to give an opportunity to share experiences and hopes for the future. This will be in November and we might call this the listening phase. It is hoped that many parishioners as possible will get involved and so help the Church engages with the world in our age.

In the weeks ahead we are asked to pray the synod prayer. This is an ancient prayer attributed to St Isidore (560-636 AD) which has been used for synods and councils for centuries.

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.