By Sean Ryan - 13 March, 2016
Over 100 proposals have been submitted for discussion at the upcoming Limerick Diocesan Synod – the first Synod to take place in Ireland in half a century.
The final gathering of delegates ahead of the Synod itself on 8-10 April is taking place this weekend at Mary Immaculate College.
It is working out a format for the event, including grouping the 100 plus proposals that have been submitted under the six already agreed themes for the Synod.
The submission of proposals was the third and final preparatory stage in the build up to next month’s gathering.
It was preceded by the selection in the autumn last year of the six Synod themes, which were chosen following a three-month listening process to determine the key issues facing the Church today.
It effectively amounted to the largest body of research done in Ireland by any entity in 2015, with questionnaires responded to by over 4,000 people across the diocese.
The period since Christmas has concentrated on canvassing delegates’ for a range of proposals to be discussed under the six themes and this has now resulted in over 100 recommendations that will be discussed at the summit.
Speaking about the forthcoming Synod, Director Fr Eamonn Fitzgibbon said, “Each of the three preparatory phases have been equally important for us and the Synod is now in sight.”
“This weekend’s final gathering of the delegates will be all about finalising the Synod structure, grouping these motions/recommendations under the respective themes and agreeing an itinerary and format for the Synod.”
“Our gathering on Saturday is in Mary I so it will also be very much a dress rehearsal as the same 400 or so delegates will be back there again in a months’ time for the Synod.”
The delegates – 70% of whom are lay people – are representative of the faithful across the diocese, with delegates drawn from all socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicities and including all ages, from older citizens to even primary school students.
So far over 1,500 people have attended meetings in the preparatory phase for the Synod, with all 60 parishes engaged in the process, as well as 25 other groups, including primary, secondary and third level education, healthcare workers, members of the travelling community, the migrant community and people with disabilities.
The six themes were selected by vote at a Delegate Day last October and are:
Community & Sense of Belonging
Pastoral Care of the Family
New Models of Leadership
Liturgy & Life
The themes were selected after 4,000 plus questionnaires were submitted.
The theme which had the most references in the questionnaire responses was Community & Sense of Belonging, with the most topics emerging here from the questionnaire being how to break ‘cliques’, how to build communities, declining numbers in communities, encouraging volunteerism, generating a caring ethos in communities and stimulating more social gatherings.