The first phase of the Archdiocese of Armagh’s preparations towards a diocesan synodal assembly have ended, with the next stage now in motion.
Armagh’s ‘Year of Reflection and Prayer’, which was extended due to Covid-19, began at the end of January 2020 and ended earlier this month with a ceremony in St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Bishop Michael Router said: “In many ways it was a blessing that we launched the Year of Reflection and Prayer when we did because, at that time, we didn’t know what lay ahead for us. Nothing could have prepared us for all that we have experienced over the past 15 months. In reality quiet reflection and prayer were often the only permitted responses.”
There will now be a period of consultation for the next two years in preparation for the diocesan synodal assembly which will be held in Autumn 2024.
The final year before the assembly will be spent analysing what has been learned through the consultation and conversation process. A core group from around the diocese were officially commissioned in St Patrick’s Cathedral and have been tasked with organising the consultation and preparation for the assembly.
Bishop Router said the changes brought on by Vatican II “prevented the Church from becoming a remnant of the past retreating into itself and becoming more and more distanced from people”.
He added: “Pope Francis has identified the model of synodality as a means of responding to the challenges and issues through a slow, yet ultimately more effective process of listening consultation and conversation.”