Pope Francis wants the ideas for church's future to come from the people - including in Sheffield

Last Sunday October 17 was a big day for all the Catholics in the world.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 1:41 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd October 2021, 1:41 pm

Sunday was a big day for all the Catholics in the world. It was the beginning of a 6 month consultation by Pope Francis, who is asking people to let him know how they are getting on at journeying together, and what steps need to be taken towards change.

There was a service at St Marie’s Cathedral to launch the process. ”I don’t know what will come of it, but its’s nice to be asked” said one enthusiastic attender, carrying a Synod candle.

Pope Francis has called for a Synod (meeting) of the Bishops. This Pope has caused a bit of a stir since his arrival. He seems open to change, to shaking up the old ways of doing things and cause us all to think again what Church should be doing to ‘love God and love your neighbour’.

Christin Wood, from St Mary’s Penistone, and St Marie's seminarian Christian Nwakamma display an icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour at the opening celebration for the Synod on Synodality in the Diocese of Hallam.

So for the Synod meeting, in 2023, Pope Francis wants the ideas to come from the people. Hence his invitation to all the people to let him know how things are going. If you were the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, wouldn’t you want to know that the Church is a help and support in these difficult times?

Everyone was invited to go back to their parishes and begin listening with an open heart to what is on the minds of the people as they journey together. Maybe we can guess what might be talked about.

The devastations of the past Covid 18 months, worries about money, jobs, food, clothing and warmth, the climate crisis, feeling safe, free and equal, feeling disconnected from the church.

At the service, 6 people told their personal stories of their faith. A range of ages and cultures, we heard stories of a priest who lived his life in the service of his community, of the importance of family, dealing with illness, the support their faith had been to them. One told of how his family, spread across the world, met each night at 6pm to pray together.

Sister Anne Ihunnia reads the Second Reading at the opening celebration for the Synod on Synodality in the Diocese of Hallam.

Two young people spoke of the difficulty of finding others of their age to share their beliefs and values, and their delight in finding the St Vincent’s Mission Hub on Solly Street, a chaplaincy for young people. Themes of belonging, being supported, feeling loved. Undoubtedly there are other stories, but there was much to hear that was positive and heart-warming.

If you want to tell Pope Francis your experiences of journeying together, individually or as a group you can send your thoughts to [email protected]