Synodal Parish Pathway

Introduction from Fr Michael

In his pastoral letter last weekend, the Cardinal highlighted Pope Francis’ invitation issued to each and every one of us to contribute to the meeting or Synod of Bishops to be held in Rome.In creating this opportunity for listening and dialogue at the local level, Pope Francis is calling the Church to humbly learn together how God is calling us to be as the Church in the third millennium. Synod means quite literally ‘journeying together’. At the heart of our journeying together is our listening – listening to one another, yes, but listening first and foremost to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us through the scripture, through the Tradition of the church, and through each other.

I do want to stress that this invitation is for everyone. In a preparatory document for the Synod, the point is well made. ‘In a synodal Church the whole community, in the free and rich diversity of its members, is called together to pray, listen, analyse, dialogue, discern and offer advice on making pastoral decisions which correspond as closely as possible to God’s will’. To this end, Pope Francis has asked every bishop throughout the world to listen to the local church that he has been called to shepherd. In turn, Cardinal Vincent has asked that each parish facilitate this listening.

Not long after the first lockdown had ended, we, as a parish, conducted a parish survey the principal aim of which was to listen to and learn from people’s experience of that first lock down. Again, the recent Parish Assembly was, I trust, an exercise in listening and journeying together. I hope therefore that we are well placed to respond to the Pope’s invitation and to engage in a discernment that relates to the life and mission of the church as a whole, not simply as it is lived here in St Albans or indeed the Diocese of Westminster. In the coming weeks and months, we will pray for the forthcoming Synod and, in particular, the success of these preparatory stages taking place across the world. More importantly, there will be opportunities for us to do what the Cardinal and Holy Father have asked us to do – to listen to one another: to share our experiences of life and faith, its joys and sorrows, its comforts and challenges so as to understand more fully what it is that God is calling us to.

Pastoral Letter from Cardinal Vincent Nicols - 3rd October 2021

Synod Prayer: Prayer of Invocation to the Holy Spirit

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
Do not let ignorance lead
us down the wrong path

nor partiality influence our
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.


The Synod Prayer can also be downloaded as a pdf using the button below.

Prayer of Invocation to the Holy Spirit

Synod Timetable for our Parish

Please make a note of the following dates:-

  • Week of 25 October Group discussion survey distributed to groups in the parish. Responses to be returned by 30 November.
  • Weekend of the 6/7 November There will be a presentation at each Mass to introduce and detail the Synod process, and an individual survey inviting and encouraging participation (with delivery to the housebound). Responses should be returned to the parish office by 16 November.
  • Tuesday 23 November  Virtual Meeting (Zoom) 7.45-9.15pm
  • Wednesday 1 December Face to face session in the Sacred Heart Centre Hall after mass 7.45-9.15pm

Synod - Resources

Please click on the buttons below to access information that has been prepared to facilitate the Synod. More to follow!