In a historic announcement, Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick has formally announced the convocation of a diocesan synod for Limerick diocese to be held in 2016. It will be the first diocesan synod in Limerick since the 1930's and the first in Ireland since the holding of the second Vatican Council which lead to reforms in the Roman Catholic Church between 1962 and 1965.
A diocesan synod is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In some christian denominations it often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not. It is also sometimes used to refer to a church that is governed by a synod.
In a letter to parishs formally convoking the synod, Bishop Leahy announced that the synod will take place in Spring 2016. It will be a three day meeting with around 400 delegates from across all aspects of the diocese. The official launch of the Synod will take place on December 7th 2014 (feast of St Ambrose of Milan) with a liturgy in St John's Cathedral. Fr Eamonn Fitzgibbon has been appointed Director of the Synod and his task will be to co-ordinate the many and vast strands of preparation for the Synod.
Stressing that the Synod wasn't just to be a talking shop involving a few people, Bishop Brendan emphasised that "if the Synod were only to be a meeting of a few days in Spring 2016 it would be a waste of time. The risk would be thta it would only produce a report gathering dust on the shelf. The Synod will have to mark a real step forward for our Diocese, indicating a realistic pathway of genuine renewal for all of us who feel faith is important.....The Synod has to be about more than changing structures..."
Emphasising the fact that this will be a gathering of the diocesan faith community Bishop Brendan emphasised that "the spiritual attitude with which we approach the period of discernment ahead of us is important. Our journey towards the Synod in 2016 needs to be a spiritual experience of journeying together in communion with one another, deepening our knowledge of the Faith and spending time in prayer."
"We are about to set out on a journey. It's a chance to ask ourselves: what Church do we want to be as we face the challenges ahead of us? What face of the Church do we want to present to society today in order to serve it with humility? How best can we be salt, light and leaven in the world?"