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Towards October 2024 – Summary of Contributions from Dioceses and Groups of the Catholic Church in Ireland

In response to the invitation from the Secretariat of the Synod in Rome to deepen our reflections on the Report from its first synodal assembly in October 2023 (called A Synodal Church in Mission and published in November) the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference received contributions from all the dioceses of Ireland along with a further ten contributions from associations of lay faithful, ecclesial movements, and Church agencies. These contributions were read and reflected upon in a spirit of prayer and discernment by a writing group of the Irish Synodal Pathway's National Team during Holy Week and early Easter. In keeping with the request from the Synod Office in Rome (see Towards October 2024), a draft eight-page summary of the contributions was then prepared. In the spirit of circularity, checking in and feeding back to those who made a contribution, regional meetings were then held across the country and online in late April. Following these meetings, and a further meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference, the writing group prepared Towards October 2024 – Summary of Contributions from Dioceses and Groups of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

The writing group also included a supporting document called Keeping the Synodal Dynamism Alive – a collation of testimonies and best practice from the Catholic Church in Ireland. This document (also requested by the Synod Office in Rome) is an un-summarised collation of testimonies of the work carried out, the lived experience of synodality in local churches, as well as the sharing of examples of good practice that was considered significant for the growth of a missionary synodal dynamism. Keeping the Synodal Dynamism Alive appears in the Appendix of the main summary document.

The key message from the summary document is the recognition of the need for change and the affirmation of a synodal approach to address this need. It emphasises the importance of embracing a style of "differentiated co-responsibility" where clergy and the lay faithful actively participate in decision-making and leadership roles. The document highlights the significance of Baptism as the foundational sacrament and emphasises the importance of ongoing formation, inclusivity, and dialogue within the Church. Overall, the document conveys a sense of hope, purpose, and energy for shaping the future of the Catholic Church in Ireland and universally, fostering greater collaboration and engagement among all members of the Pobal Dé, the People of God. You can read Towards October 2024 – Summary of Contributions from Dioceses and Groups of the Catholic Church in Ireland

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