The Synodal Path

The Far East magazine launched a new series on Synodality in the January/February 2022 issue.

Regional Director of the Columbans in Ireland, Fr Raymond Husband, writes about the significance of this journey for the Church.

Over the next two years we will hear a lot about synodality in our churches, parishes and in the Catholic media. The Far East magazine launches a new series of articles in this issue on the topic of synodality aimed at providing readers with some insights into the journey the global Church and the Church in Ireland is on.

Pope Francis officially opened the Synod on Synodality last October. Over the next two years there will be a series of local, regional, and continental phases of consultation concluding with the bishops meeting in Rome in October 2023. The Pope is inviting the entire Church to reflect on its mission in our world today.

According to the Venezuelan theologian Rafael Luciani, “Synodality is an invitation to foster processes of conversion as we listen to one another and larger society while reading the signs of the times together.”

A synodal perspective challenges the culture of clericalism and proposes a culture of dialogue and consensus.

Pope Francis has long called for a more synodal Church, a Church in which the voices of all are heard and respected. Above all, this process is about being open to the voice of the Holy Spirit as we journey together.

The Preparatory Document for a Synodal Church describes the process of synodality as being on a journey. It is about involving lay people in the discussion so that the future of the Church can be owned by all and not a privileged few.

“To journey together we need to let ourselves be educated by the Spirit to a truly synodal mentality, entering with courage and freedom of heart into a conversion process.”

Furthermore, the document states: “It is precisely this path of synodality which God expects of the Church in the third millennium.”

As Christians we are baptised into the life and death of Jesus, and it is from this we all receive our missionary mandate. Synodality is at the service of the Church’s mission, in which all members are called to participate by virtue of our common baptism. A synodal Church is a Church going forth, a missionary Church whose doors are open to all.

Personally, I believe that if the synodal journey is to be effective, the voice of the poor and excluded must find a place in the consultation and discussions that are taking place. It is only then that we can truly claim that we are a synodal Church.

Synodality : A Missionary Reflection
Submission from Columban Missionaries in Ireland
Read it here

The articles in the series can be read here:

A Synod that made a Difference
Columban missionary Fr Kevin O’Boyle worked for many years in Santiago, Chile. He spoke to Fr Alo Connaughton about a synod that radically changed and reinvigorated the Church there. Read it here:

Synodality: Retrieving the Richness of our earlier Christian Tradition
Fr Tom O’Reilly provides some important insights and historical context on the Synodal Process. Read it here:

Synodality 1. The Synodal Path
In the first article in the series, Fr Tom O’Reilly explains how walking and discerning together and listening attentively to each other are at the heart of the synodal process. Read it here:

Synodality 2. A Church Synod
The Synod Pope Francis has convoked is a Church synod, Fr Sean McNulty emphasises. It is a forum for listening to everybody’s experience of discipleship with compassion and tenderness. Read it here:

Synodality 3. Participation – Making space for Grace
Columban Fr Paul McMahon is a counsellor at the Survivors of Trauma Centre in Belfast, which he describes as “a safe environment in which to heal, grow and encounter. A place where our traumas can be transformed through making space for Grace”. Read it here:

Synodality 4: Responding to Our Baptismal Call
Columban lay missionary Jao Resari believes Synodality calls the faithful to become active participants in mission and to address clericalism and exclusion in the Church. Read it here:

Synodality 5: Mission and Synodality
Mission is one of the three themes proposed for the Universal Synod in 2023, along with Communion and Participation. Columban Fr Hugh MacMahon explains how the Synodal Process has a deep missionary dimension to it. Read it here:

Synodality 6: Young People: Voices on the Margins?
James Trewby, Columban Justice and Peace Education Worker in Britain, provides some reflections from a young adult synodal conversation. Read it here:

Synodality 7: A Different Church
Fr Patrick McMullan considers why Pope Francis is promoting synodality and highlights the dramatic shift in the global Catholic population thanks to missionary activity over the past 100 years. Read it here:

Synodality 8: Interfaith Synodality
Fr Patrick McInerney is the Director of the Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations in Australia. He explains why Interfaith Synodality needs to be put into practice. Read it here:

Synodality 9: Synodality and Formation for Mission
Columban missionary Fr Frank Hoare spoke to the Federation of Conferences of Catholic Bishops of Oceania (FCBCO) earlier this year. Synodality and formation for mission were two of the three major themes of the bishops’ assembly along with the effects of a changing climate on the oceans. This is a shortened version of Fr Hoare’s address. Read it here:


Irish Synodal Pathway
On 10 March 2021, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference announced a new Synodal Pathway for the Catholic Church in Ireland leading to the holding of a National Synodal Assembly or Assemblies within the next five years. This process will focus on the question: What does God want from the Church in Ireland at this time?
Learn more:


Resources for the entire synodal process: This includes an explanation of the Roadmap for the Diocesan Phase; the Preparatory Document; Tools for Facilitating the Synodal Consultation; Prayers for the Synodal Process; Explanation of the Logo and the Vademecum or Handbook for the Synod on Synodality.